By CHARLES H. BABBITT
^Jll that I know is, that the facts I state
Are true, as Truth has ever been of late.''''
WASHINGTON, D. C.
PRESS OF BVRON S. ADAMS
By Charles H. Babbitt
INTRODUCTION : Wherefore and How 5—6
EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS: Longitude and
Latitude ; First Occupancy ; Origin of Name ; Hart 's
Cut-Off; Hart's Bluff; Bloomer and Gue Histories;
De Smet's Letter to Jones; Hart's Trapping Station;
Who was Hart ? Pottawattamie Indians Arrive ; Old
Blockhouse ; Billy Caldwell's Village ; Jesuit Mission ;
Fort Croghan; Camp Kearney; Mormons; Miller's
Hollow ; Kanesville ; Colonel Kane ; Mormon Church
Reorganization; President Chosen; General G. M.
Dodge; United States Land Office; First "Gentile"
Church Edifice; Named Council Bluffs; City Incor-
poration ; Townsite Entry ; Survey of Townsite ; News-
papers ; First Dram.atic Performance 9 — 24
POTTAWATTAMIE INDIANS: United States Acquire
Land in Iowa and Missouri ; Indian Cessions in Illinois
and Indiana; Removal of Pottawattamies ; Errone-
ously Located; Platte Purchase; Arrival in Iowa;
Number Removed; Blockhouse Erected; Dr. Edwin
James ; Iowa Lands Described ; Father De Smet ; His
Mission; Early Writers Err; Old Indian (Wicks)
Mill; Historical Works; Colonel Kearney; Sub-
Agency Locations; Camp Fenwick; Fort Croghan;
Pottawattamies Relinquish Iowa Lands; Indian and
Mormon Co-Occupancy; Departure of Pottawat-
tamies 25 — 40
THE OLD BLOCKHOUSE: Subject of Surmise; Writer's
Memory Concerning ; Bloomer 's Description ; Gue 's
History; Field and Reed History; H. H. Field's Per-
sonal Recollection ; Spencer Smith 's Memory ; Ephraim
Huntington's Remembrance; Henry De Long's De-
scription ; Appearance in 1846 ; Fort Croghan 's Rela-
tion; De Smet's Barometric Reading; Nicollett and
Fremont's Visit; Camp Kearney; War Department
Memorandum; Official Records; When Erected;
Jesuit Mission Establislied ; Mission Abandoned ; Com-
ment on Memory 41 — 60
4 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
FORT CROGHAN: When Established; By Whom Estab-
lished ; Camp Fenwiek ; Name Changed ; Log Canton-
ment; Flooded by Missouri; Removal to Highlands;
Scope of Name; Original Site; Where Removed;
Bloomer's Statements; Hardin's Testimony; Section
10; Casady's Farm; Council Point; Casady's Town
House; Duck Hollow; De Smet's Reply to Inquiry;
Log of Steamer ' ' Omega" ; Audubon 's Visit ; Audubon
Returns ; Abandonment of Fort ; Writer's Deductions ;
General Comment 61 — 76
THE MORMONS : Arrive at Missouri River ; Civil Govern-
ment ; Whither Were They Going ? Camps of Israel ;
The Stakes of Zion; Enlistment of Battalion; Its
Rendezvous; Farewell Ball; Change of Emigration
Plans ; Semi-Permanent Encampment ; Winter Quar-
ters; Municipal Government Established; Miller's
Hollow; Kanesville; President of the Church Ap-
pointed; Abandonment of Winter Quarters; Post-
offices Established; Frontier Guardian; Peter A.
Sarpy; Dagger's Mill; The Bugle; Orson Hyde and
His People Depart 77—89
POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY: Temporary Organization
Authorized; Organization Effected; Boundaries
Changed and Area Reduced; Seat of Justice to be
Selected; Election for Seat of Justice and Officials;
Date and Result of Election 91—96
MAP of VICINITY of Council Bluffs 7
SKETCH MAP of the Pottawattamie Country (1837) 23
OLD BLOCKHOUSE ; Simons Picture ; Bloomer and Gue ; 45
OLD BLOCKHOUSE; Suppasititious Picture; Original Ap-
STREET SCENE in Council Bluffs (About 1861) 90
WHEREFORE AND HOW.
For about forty years the author or compiler of this little book
has been a more or less regular contributor to the columns of the
Daily Nonpareil, at Council Bluffs, Iowa. During that period, —
especially the latter part, — his writings have been chiefly reminis-
cences of early clays at and near that city, where he resided in his
boyhood and early manhood for twenty-one years — 1853 to 1874.
In September, 1915, he attended and read a reminiscent paper
before a gathering of "pioneers" and "early settlers" of South-
western Iowa. The conversations that ensued indicated the existence
of much discrepancy in memory among those in attendance and sug-
gested the preparation of this work.
Entering upon the necessary research the writer soon discovered
that not only was his memory defective, but that, in some instances,
it presented things that never existed, — mere figments of imagination.
He found, also, that others were afflicted in the same manner; that
some who had essayed the task of "history writers" had become, so
to speak, "makers of history" by introducing into their works as
real some of those imaginary things, and by setting down as facts
mere inferences, deductions and assumptions.
Thereupon he resolved that nothing should be stated as a fact in
this work that might not be authenticated b}^ either conclusive or
very convincing evidence, and in the preparation of this booklet he
has been controlled and guided by that resolution.
While it has not been possible to secure absolutely conclusive testi-
mony in support of each and every incident herein recorded, and
some inferences, deductions and assumptions have been unavoidable,
he has endeavored to present only such of these as may be corroborated
or sustained by reasonably strong circumstantial evidence, and where
introduced they are distinctly set down for what they are. Where
matters are stated as facts, they are facts.
Instead of simply stating the facts in his own language and re-
ferring in footnotes to the authorities from whence they have been
gleaned, as per the custom of professional historians, the writer has
incorporated and quoted the original sources; in other words, he has
allowed the authorities to tell their own stories, and has merely
6 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
pointed out to those who may wish to pursue the matter what the
authorities are and where they may be found. It is his belief that
this course will prove more satisfactory to the general reader, to whom
the source of many quotations and citations made are absolutely un-
attainable. Some of the matters quoted have never before been pub-
lished in any form, and the records containing them are not con-
veniently accessible to the general publi,.
It is not the purpose of this work to present a commercial and
personal history of early days at Council Bluffs, its scope being re-
stricted to substantially the period between the coming of the Potta-
wattamie Indians to Southwestern Iowa and the general exodus of the
Latter Day Saints from the locality — that is between 1835 and 1853,
though for the completion of some subjects events as late as 1857 are
For assistance rendered and information furnished the writer
acknowledges obligation to Rev. Henry De Long, Hon. H. H. Field,
Hon. Spencer Smith, Ephraim Huntington, City Engineer, E. E.
Spetman, William H. Campbell, Theodore Guittar, James N. Casady,
and W. S. Cooper, of Council Bluffs; Hon. Frank Shinn, of Carson;
General Hiram Martin Chittenden, of Seattle, Washington; Rev.
G. J. Garraghan, of the University of St. Louis; Anthon H. Lund,
Latter Day Saints Historian, A. Wm. Lund and Andrew Jensen,
Assistant Historians, and Edgar S. Hills, of Salt Lake City; Ben-
jamin F. Shambaugh, Superintendent, and Jacob Van der Zee, State
Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City; Edgar R. Harlan, Curator,
Historical Department of Iowa, Des Moines; Albert Watkins, His-
torian, Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln ; Rev. Michael Shine,
Plattsmouth, Nebraska; officials of the War Department, Post Office
Department, and Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C.
If the work shall serve in any degree to preserve the truth of
history, that shall be the compiler's reward; for such errors, defects
or imperfections as may appear, the responsibility in his.
Charles H. Babbitt.
Washington, D. C, October 21, 1916.
EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
Scale 2 Inch = I Mile
i_ ! __? |L
MAP OF THE VICINITY OF COUNCIL BLUFFS
EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
MAP OF THE VICINITY OF COUNCIL BLUFFS.
This map, or diagram, has been prepared from the plats of surveys
made in 1851-1852 by the United States Government, and from other
sources of information deemed reliable. It shows the west two-thirds
of each of the townships 74 and 75, range 43, and all of each of
the fractional townships 74 and 75, range 44,
All points laid down thereon, except Camp of Mormon Battalion,
Hart's Trapping Station. Caldwell's Village, and Omega Landing —
1843, are fixed in accordance with the records of the General Land
Office. The locations of the Old Blockhouse and Caldwell's Village
have been indicated from records found in the Indian Bureau and
War Department, and various concurrent sources of information. The
locations of the Omega Landing and Hart's Trapping Station are
shown as supposed to be from historical writings found to have bearing
in relation thereto. The Camp of the Mormon Battalion is shown to
be located as indicated upon information by Rev. Henry De Long,
and by writings of Colonel Thomas L. Kane and others made at the
time. The authorities are more fully described in the text of the
EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS.
About the beginning of the nineteenth century the site of the
present city of Council Bluffs, Iowa, — (longitude 18° 48' west from
Washington, 95° 50' west from Greenwich, and 41° 15' north lati-
tude) — was occupied by the village of a tribe or band of aborigines
known as the "Ayauway (Iowa) Indians" which is mentioned in the
"History of the Expedition of Captains Lewis and Clark, 1804-5-6;
reprinted from the edition of 1814; with Introduction by J. K.
Hosmer. Chicago. A. C. MeClurg & Co. 1902", and indicated on
a map accompanying that work. It appears from the journal of the
expedition kept at the time that Captains Lewis and Clark camped
July 27, 1804, on the west (right) bank of the Missouri river, slightly
to the north and west from the point at which the original town was
located some forty-two years later.
The name is derived from "Council Bluff", a hill near the present
village of Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, at the foot of which was held a
council with some Indians by Lewis and Clark. Their journal says : —
"The incidents just related induced us to give this place
the name of the Council Bluff."
Subsequently "the Council Bluff" was used by early traders,
trappers and navigators of the Missouri river, and by government
officials, to indicate the site of that council, and later the final word
became pluralized and the term "the Council Bluffs" was applied
to the entire region of country between the (Jouncil Bluff and the
mouth of the Platte river, the designation appearing upon all, or
nearly all, early maps in connection with the range of hills on the
west (right) bank of the Missouri river between the points mentioned.
The early history of the region contains very little regarding the
territory on the east (left) bank of the river, because that history re-
lates, primarily, to the affairs of the several fur companies doing
business along the stream, and, with the solitary exception of the
trading establishment of Robidoux, Papin, Chouteau & Berthold, at
the mouth of the Nishnabotna, none of the trading houses were on
When an Indian agency for the Otoes, Pawnees and Omahas was
10 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
established at Bellevue, where previously a sub-agency under the
Agent at Fort Leavenworth had existed, it became known as "the
agency of the Council Bluff ' ', and subsequently as the Council Bluffs
agency. By treaty of September 26 and 27, 1833, the Pottawattamie
Indians of Illinois and Indiana, together with the Chippewas and
Ottawas, with whom they were affiliated, ceded their possessions in
those States and were assigned territory for a new home in south-
western Iowa, but through errors of the emigrating agents those who
removed in 1835, 1836 and early 1837 were carried into territory
now in the northwestern part of the State of Missouri, opposite and
near to Fort Leavenworth. They were removed to their own lands,
in Iowa, in 1837, and the Council Bluffs Sub-agency was established
at a point about one mile above the mouth of the Platte river, on
the east (left) bank of the Missouri, which was under the juris-
diction of the agency at Bellevue. Later (about 1843) the sub-agency
offices were moved up the river to Point aux Poules (Point of the
Pulls), opposite Bellevue, afterward known as Trader's Point, and
there are indications that, before those Indians removed from the
region, the sub-agency offices were removed to or near what was after-
ward known as Council Point. A trading post was established at
Trader's Point about the time that the Pottawattamies came to the
country which was known as Hamilton's, and Peter A. Sarpy, agent
for the American Fur Company at Bellevue, soon afterward opened
a branch of his concern at the same place.
There is tradition, supported by much circumstantial evidence of
convincing character, to the effect that one Hart or Heart had a
trading or trapping station at an early day (some say as early as
1824, and the writer here believes it was established before that),
at or very near the site of the present city of Council Bluffs, and that
the adjacent hills, as well as those in and among which the original
town was built were, for that reason, known to the early traders,
trappers and navigators of the Missouri river as "Hart's Bluffs"
(Cotes a Hart).
No record has been found to indicate in any manner that this
Mr. Hart was in any way connected with the American Fur Company
or any of its predecessors, subsidiaries or successors; nor does liis
name appear in any of the published official lists of independent
traders licensed or granted permits by the United States government.
If he were a white man trading on his own account with the Indians
EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS 11
in the vicinity without a license, he would have been reported to the
Indian Department by the other traders upon whose privileges he
would have been intruding, such as Roye, on the site of the original
city of Omaha; Pratt, on the site of Florence; Cabanne, a few miles
above, and Manuel Lisa, near the old Council Bluff. But there is
no record of such proceeding.
It seems to be a fact, nevertheless, that someone named Hart or
Heart did conduct a trading house or trapper's station at the indi-
cated point prior to 1832. As late as 1843 notes in the American
Pur Company's steamboat logs bore mention of "Hart's Cut Off"
and "Hart's Bluffs".
The precise spot on which Hart's establishment stood is not posi-
tively known, and may not at this late day be located with absolute
certainty. In Annals of Iowa (Volume 9, page 526, 1870-1871) D. C.
Bloomer said that a trading point —
"was situated as early as 1824 at what was in those days known
as 'Hart's Bluffs', from a Frenchman who located there, and
which is found upon inquiry to have been a place in the city
of Council Bluffs known as Mynster Spring. ' '
Hon. B. F. Gue, in his "History of Iowa", writing of Pottawattamie
"The first town laid out was called Hart's Bluff and stood
on the present site of Council Bluffs."
Unfortunately neither of these historians gave any tangible authority
or source of information upon which his statement was based, and
those of the latter were probably simply appropriated from the works
of earlier writers. Surely there is no evidence now extant to confirm
the fact that a "town was laid out" at the point and time referred
to by Gue. He probably misread the writing of some earlier historian
to whom he failed to give credit.
Mr. Bloomer's statement is founded, manifestly, upon tradition
and hearsay. He says, "which is now found upon inquiry", but
does not say of whom inquiry was made. It might be inferred from
other matter in the article quoted that he derived his information from
Mr. Francois Guittar, who had long been familiar with the locality.
Even if this inference be correct, the facts are not conclusively estab-
lished. Although Mr. Guittar may have mentioned Mynster Spring
as the site of Hart's establishment, he used that object as the place
12 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
most prominent in the vicinity of Hart's plant, without meaning that
it was the precise spot. There was then no suitable site immediately
at the spring for a trading house.
The best evidence found by the writer tending to convincingly prove
that Hart's trading house was near the site of the present city of
Council Bluffs, is contained in a letter addressed to A. D. Jones, of
Omaha, by Father De Smet, December 28, 1867. Mr. Jones submitted
to the celebrated Missionary several inquiries, of which one, with the
answer, was as follows: —
"(Question) There is an earthen remain of fortifications
on the east bank of Omaha ; do you know who built it ?
" (Answer) The remains alluded to must be the site of the
old trading post of Mr. Heart. When it was in existence the
Missouri river ran up to the trading post. In 1832 the river
left it, and since that time it goes by the name of 'Heart's
Cut-Off', leaving a large lake above Council Bluffs City."
(See Chittenden and Richardson's De Smet, Volume 4, Page
1353; also Volume I, Nebraska Historical Society's report.)
The writer of this work resided at Council Bluffs from June 4, 1853
to June 4, 1874, continuously, and from about 1855 or 1856 to the
date last-before mentioned was very familiar with the lake referred
to — called Big Lake — now Iowa Lake — and with its surroundings,
having hunted game all around its shores and over the adjacent hills.
Mynster Spring, lies back in the hills a short distance from the
eastern shore of the old river bed — the original lake bed — and less
than one-half mile to the north and east, over a high and sharp ridge
— "hog back" — there was a confluence of two other live springs of
lesser importance and smaller water flow, situated in a broad valley
among the bluffs, from which flowed a brooklet of fair proportions
that entered the original lake bed, from which the water had partly
receded, probably one hundred yards north from where the Mynster
Spring came out of its little gorge, and followed along the foot of the
bluff for a considerable distance northwesterly entering the shrunken
lake an eighth of a mile or more above the mouth of the Mynster
Spring branch, th(! trend of the latter being southwesterly from the
foot of the blufT wlicre it emerged.
At the confluence of springs just mentioned — less than a half mile
from the lake shore as it was in 1855, and much nearer the original
bank — were the remains of buildings of considerable size, surrounded,
or partly so then, by what appeared to have been a sod fence within
EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS 13
the enclosure of which had been included the meeting of the springs.
The area of land embraced in the original enclosure had been two or
more acres, and there were indications that at a period long before
the enclosed land, together with quite a quantity outside of the en-
closure, had been cultivated. When passing through this place for
the first time, accompanied by his father, on a duck-hunting trip to
the lake, the writer was informed that the remains mentioned marked
the site of an old Indian trading post.
This site corresponds very closely with Father De Smet's all too
brief reference to "Heart's trading post", and does not seriously
conflict with the location described by Mr. Bloomer. At the time to
which reference is here had nearly twenty-five years had elapsed sub-
sequent to the change of river channel by which were formed the lake
and cut-off mentioned by Father De Smet in his letter to Mr. Jones.
During that period the waters of the lake had been receding and the
springs had been busy carrying down from the hills and depositing
large quantities of silt upon the delta — part of the old river-bed lake —
so that considerable land had been formed between the bluff and the
then existing lake shore.
If, as the writer verily believes. Hart's establishment was located
at the confluence of springs above mentioned, the line of the bluffs
being the shore of the river at the time the post was erected — perhaps
thirty years or more before the writer saw the place — the trapping
station was only a short distance from the river bank. The "remains"
referred to by Father De Smet are believed to be the same as men-
tioned herein as a "sod fence"; and that the place was "the site of
the old trading post of Mr. Heart", is not improbable.
It must not be assumed that the term "Hart's Bluffs" of the early
traders and voyageurs was applied to any one bluff or hill in par-
ticular, but rather to the entire range of bluffs extending from the
Indian creek delta, wherein the original town of Council Bluffs was
built, to the delta above, through which Pigeon and Honey creeks
and the Boyer river pass out from the hills and into the Missouri.
The same mentioned by Lewis and Clark as "the first highlands that
approach the river on that side since we left the Nodaway".
So, while it is not conclusively established, there is at least very
convincing evidence to indicate, that the first distinctive name given
to the site of the present city of Council Bluffs ; that by which it was
designated and differentiated by the traders, trappers and steamboat
14 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
men from other similar situations along the Missouri river, was
Who was this "Hart" or "Heart" whose name became attached
to the locality in question ?
Messrs. Bloomer, Gue, and others whose works relating to the place
have come under the inspection of the writer, all say that he was a
"Frenchman". However, none of them give any authority for the
assertion, nor does any of them appear to have definite knowledge
respecting him. Their information about him is vague, to say the
least, and apparently based entirely upon hearsay, legend and tra-
A most diligent and careful search of the governmental and other
records pertaining to the early traders and trappers operating in
this region, as far back as 1810, fails to disclose anything by which
the identity of "Hart" or "Heart" may be indubitably established.
Incorporated in "Thwaite's Early Western Travels" is the report
of Long's Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, by Dr. Edwin James,
secretary. In that portion of the paper relating to the "Winter
Cantonment", near "Camp Missouri" — (otherwise known as Fort
Atkinson and Fort Calhoun) — has been found (Vol. 14, Chap. 9,
page 250) a possible identification of the mysterious person from
whom the names of "Hart's Bluff" and "Hart's Cut Off" may have
been derived. It is the following : —
"The principal Iowa chief was once at our camp; he is a
very intelligent Indian, with solemn dignity of deportment,
and would not deign to enter our houses or even to approach
them until invited. He is said to have more intimate knowledge
of the manners of the whites than any other Indian of the
Missouri and to be acquainted with many of the words of our
language, but will not willingly make use of them fearing to
express himself improperly, or not trusting his pronunciation.
He remained near Council Bluffs in the autumn, in order to be
present at the councils with the different nations, and to observe
the conduct of the whites toward them respectively, a consider-
able time after his nation had departed down the river to their
beaver trapping. After this he went with his family to the
headwaters of the Boyer, and during their stay there trapped
163 beaver; when with us he was about to go in search of his
people. . . .
"This Indian is known by several names, as Grand Batture,
Hard Heart, Sandbar, and, in his own language, as Wang-e-
waha. During our late contest with Great Britain he turned
EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS 15
his back upon his nation in consequence of their raising the
tomahawk upon our citizens, and, crossing the Missouri, united
his destiny with the Otoes. Last autumn his nation joined him
and submitted to his guidance; so that the Otoes, Missouries,
and lowas were then united."
One of the parties who signed the treaty of October 15, 1836, at
Bellevue, by which the lowas, Otoes and Missourias completed the
cession of the triangle of land in northwestern Missouri known as
the ' ' Platte Purchase ' ', was ' ' No Heart ' ', whose aboriginal name does
not appear; and he signed as an Iowa Chief.
From ''Hard Heart" to "No Heart" is not a far change, nor
would it be a surprising one. The terms have practically the same
significance and were readily interchangeable under the circumstances
of the lives of those people.
It was of the winter of 1819-1820 that Dr. James wrote, after or
during which, the Indian mentioned "went with his family to the
headwaters of the Boyer" and engaged in trapping. In the legends
and traditions relating to "Hart's trading house at the site of Council
Bluffs" the date of its founding is said to have been "as early as
1824". Now, a study of the topography of the country adjoining the
Boyer river valley should make it clear that, at no point other than
that herein set out as the probable site of ' ' Hart 's trading or trapping
station" would there then have been found as good accommodations for
such an establishment. There is no other place on the east (left) side
of the Missouri river within one hundred miles of the mouth of the
Boyer, where at that time existed so fine a situation for the trading
or trapping station of one operating in that region ; well protected as
it was from weather, as well as against the encroachment of enemies
or competing operators, immediately on the bank of the Missouri
and only a few miles below the mouth of the Boyer.
No stretch of imagination is required, nor is it a violent presumption,
to assume that this "intelligent Indian chief" who expatriated himself
and became affiliated with the Otoes, in whose country the site men-
tioned then was, actually established his headquarters at that point;
and the fact that he was known to be in occupancy thereof and
operating a trading or trapping station there, would have furnished
good reason for the application of the names "Hart's Bluffs" to the
adjacent hills and of "Hart's Cut-Off" to the new channel formed by
the Missouri river when it receded to the westward. There appears
16 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
to the writer good presumptive evidence to support the belief that
this Indian gave the locality its name.
In 1837 the Pottawattamie, Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, removed
from Illinois and Indiana, who had been residing upon what was
known as the "Platte Purchase", in Missouri, were brought to their
new homes in Iowa, and the Village of one of their principal chiefs,
Billy Caldwell, became located and a blockhouse was undoubtedly
erected on the very site of the present city of Council Bluffs. Billy
Caldwell died there September 27, 1841. (See Pottawattamie
May 31, 1838, a Jesuit Mission was established at the place by the
renowned Father Pierre-Jean De Smet, in connection with which
the blockhouse was used. Father De Smet was transferred elsewhere
in 1839 and in July or August, 1841 the mission was abandoned. (See
Mr. J. N. Nicollet, accompanied by Lieutenant John C. Fremont,
of the Corps of Topographical Engineers, made explorations in the
Missouri river valley in 1838 and 1839, and the place now occupied
by the city of Council Bluffs was referred to in the report of the ex-
pedition published by the War Department in 1843, as "Camp
Kearney", which, it is believed by the writer, was the name given by
the explorers to their engineer encampment in that vicinity, although
no specific mention of such encampment has been found.
In 1842 a company of dragoons, under the command of Captain
John H. K. Burgwin, was sent from Fort Leavenworth to protect the
Pottawattamie Indians against threatened attack by the Sioux. Its
encampment, named ' ' Camp Fenwick ' ' which was afterward changed
to "Fort Croghan", was located somewhere in the vicinity of the old
steamboat landing, about five miles south of the site of the old block-
house; but, on account of high water, was removed in the spring of
1843 to the highlands, and was abandoned October 6, 1843. (See
Upon the arrival of the Mormons, June 14, 1846, on their way
to the "New Zion", a battalion of troops was recruited from their
number at the site of the present city of Council Bluffs and sent to
the Mexican war, and a semi-permanent camp was established at the
place by the emigrating Latter Day Saints. One of their number,
Henry W. Miller, settled a short distance west from the old block-
house, where a village soon took form and was given the name
EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS 17
Upon petition presented by Brigham Young a postoffiee named
"Kane" was established at Miller's Hollow January 17, 1848, and at
a conference meeting of the Saints held April 8, 1848, in the "Log
Tabernacle" at Miller's Hollow, a resolution was adopted changing
the name of the village to "Kanesville". This action was taken in
honor of Colonel Thomas Leiper Kane, who had befriended the
Mormons in many ways. Col. Kane was born at Philadelphia, Jan-
uary 27, 1822; was son of John Kintzing and Jane Duval (Leiper)
Kane. His father was a prominent lawyer of Philadelphia and Wash-
ington and an adviser of several Presidents of the United States, in-
cluding Andrew Jackson. Another son, Elisha Kent Kane, became
quite well known on account of his explorations in the Arctic. Colonel
Kane visited the Mormon settlement at Commerce (Nauvoo), Illinois,
in 1847, and was with the Saints at Council Bluffs in 1846 when the
brigade was recruited for the Mexican war. He went to Salt Lake in
1858, with letters from President Buchanan, and assisted in settling
the "Mormon War". In April, 1861, he raised a regiment of hunters
and lumbermen which became known as the ' ' Bucktails ' ' ; was several
times wounded during the war of the rebellion, on account of which
he resigned in 1863. He founded the town of Kane, in northwestern
Pennsylvania; was author of "The Mormons" (1850); "Alaska"
(1868); Coahuila (1877). He died at Philadelphia December 26,
1883. (See The Mormons.)
The population of Kanesville was increased by more than one hun-
dred per cent, by the influx of Saints from Winter Quarters, aban-
doned in the spring of 1848, and the place gained a number of business
houses, some of which became quite prominent in after years. The
population is said to have approximated seven thousand in 1849. In
1852 Apostle Orson Hyde, who had been in charge of Latter Day Saint
affairs since the abandonment of Winter Quarters, departed from
Kanesville, and with him went every Mormon whom he could induce
to follow, and the population became greatly decreased. It was
probably not in excess of two thousand or twenty-five hundred in the
spring of 1853.
On page 8 of Field and Reed's "History of Pottawattamie County,"
referring to the Mormon occupancy of the place, it is said : —
"At this time everything was controlled by the church. Idle-
ness and dissipation were not tolerated. There was no jail nor
need for one."
18 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
This accords with information given the writer by persons who were
there at the time ; but, when he went there, in 1853, a marked change
had occurred. There were numerous drinking and gambling places,
running "wide open", the most pretentious of which was called the
' ' Ocean "Wave ' ' on the site now occupied by the Methodist Episcopal
Church, at the junction of Broadway and First street. Nor was
gambling confined to the houses devoted to the purpose, all of which
were named, "Humboldt", "Bloomer", &c. ; but, during emigration
days, when passing "pilgrims" were numerous, the professionals oc-
cupied the sidewalks where they dealt many kinds of "sure-thing"
games— "thimble rigging", "chuck-a-luck", "monte", etc., using
empty packing boxes upturned for tables, stacked upon which might
frequently be seen hundreds of dollars in gold coin to catch the eye of
There was little manufacturing in the very early days ; commercially
none. Of course there were artisans of various kinds: shoemakers,
blacksmiths, wagon makers, etc., but theirs was chiefly custom work
The first saw and grist mill was built by the Pottawattamie Indian
Chiefs in 1841 from their own funds, the government having failed
for more than three years to keep its promise to them in this respect.
It was located on Mosquito creek, about two-and-one-half miles north
and east from the site of Billy Caldwell's village and the old block-
house, and was known as the "Pottawattamie Mill" while operated
by or for the Indians. Afterward it was called "Wicks' Mill", and,
finally, "Parks' Mill".
In 1848 Madison Dagger built a grist mill at the foot of the bluff, in
the western part of the Mormon settlement, less than a half mile north
of the site of the present Federal Building. Its power was derived
from Indian creek, the water being led by a race from the original
channel at Benton street, along what were then known as Green and
Race streets, to the mill site. Afterward machinery for manufacturing
lumber was added.
The field notes of the government survey, made in November, 1851,
mention a saw mill on section 11, township 75, range 44. It was
probably ])uilt early in 1851 by cither Cornelius Voorhis or Stephen
T. Carey or by them jointly, being at times given the name of each —
"Voorhis Mill" or "Carey Mill"— and sometimes as " Carey-Voorhis
Mill". They made a joint purchase from the governniCMt of the land
upon which it stood. Us power came from a spring that issued from
EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS 19
the hills there, and near by were quarries of limestone, and several
kilns for calcining the product. How long it was in operation no dis-
covered record discloses. It was in ruins when first seen by the writer,
in 1855. It stood at the then extreme head of "Big Lake".
The writer has been informed that the little powder house which in
early days was perched upon the top of the higli bluff on the south
side of Pierce street, between South First street and Park Avenue,
was built of bricks made in "Duck Hollow" in 1848. His memory
recalls the fact, however, that it was commonly reported, in 1853, that
the bricks for its construction were brought by boat from St. Louis or
St. Joseph. There was no other brick building in the town in the
spring of 1853.
The first brickyard of commercial importance was established early
in 1853 and was located not far from Dagger's mill. From bricks
made there was constructed the first brick building (excepting the
powder house) erected within the limits of the city. It was a one-story,
two-room structure; owned by W. C. James and built with his own
hands except as to carpentery. Its first occupant was the United
States Land Office, in the late summer or fall of 1853. My father
was then Register and Dr. Enos Lowe was receiver. Each office oc-
cupied a room. Subsequently the ownership passed to Gardner
("Gid") Robinson, by whom it was enlarged and for many years
occupied as a residence. It is said that the Federal Building now
covers the site.
No steam ferry existed at Council Bluffs until 1854, when the Iowa
and Nebraska Ferry Company was organized and placed in service
a small boat named the ' ' Nebraska. ' ' The president of the company
was Samuel S. Bayliss, and when a larger boat was required a few
years later, it was named for his youngest daughter, "Lizzie Bayliss".
Prior to the establishment of this ferry line regular steamboats
plying the Missouri river, especially those built for the fur trade on
the Upper Missouri, visited the place at the season of emigration and
carried emigrants, all called "pilgrims" in those days, across the
stream. Such fact is mentioned by Captain Joseph La Barge in the
work relating to his life and adventures elsewliere quoted and cited in
this work. (See History of Early Navigation on the Missouri River,
Life and Adventures of Joseph La Barge.)
Subsequent to the abandonment of the De Smet mission (1841) and
until the arrival of the Mormons (1846), no church organization of
any kind was represented among the Pottawattamies of the region.
20 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
The Indians were without school teachers or religious instructors. In
1851 a small organization of Congregationalists and Methodists was
formed under the leadership of Revs. G. G. Rice and Wm. Simpson,
which occupied rented quarters for use as a chapel. The first church
edifice erected by "gentiles" was due to the efforts of Elder Moses F.
Shinn, who persistently solicited in the highways and by ways until
sufficient funds were raised to erect the small frame structure known
as the Methodist Church which for many years stood on Pierce street,
between Park Avenue and First street, where it was built in 1854.
Under act of Congress of August 22, 1852 (10 Stat., 26), the United
States established at Kanesville, September 2, 1852, a land office, for
which Joseph H. D. Street and Dr. Samuel M. Ballard were commis-
sioned Register and Receiver, respectively. Delay in preparation of
necessary books deferred the beginning of land sales, however, until
March 12, 1853. The office name was changed to Council Bluffs in
1855. The office was discontinued May 13, 1873. Subsequent Registers
were Lysander W. Babbitt, James Pollard, Lewis S. Hills (demo-
cratic) ; Frank Street, Sylvanus Dodge, N. Baldwin (republicans) ;
the Receivers were Enos Lowe, A. H. Palmer (democrats), and Dexter
C. Bloomer (republican), the latter serving from April 2, 1861, to dis-
continuance of the office — twelve years.
An act of the State legislature (approved January 19, 1853, to
become effective after publication) authorizing the change of name
from Kanesville to Council Bluffs, became operative February 9, 1853.
(See Sess. Laws, 4th Gen. Ass., Chap. 43, page 72.)
By legislative enactment of January 24, 1853 (Sess. Laws, 4th
Gen. Ass., page 108), entitled "Incorporation of Council Bluffs City",
incorporation under the name Council Bluffs was authorized. Many
letters of business men immediately following incorporation were
dated and bore the printed heading "Council Bluffs City". This act
became operative immediately upon its passage; so, the city was in-
corporated before legal change of name occurred.
Although not strictly within the purpose of this work to make
special mention of individual citizens of Council Bluffs, except as
merely incidental to some other matter, it is deemed proper to state
that, in 1853, Grenville M. Dodge became one of her citizens, afterward
becoming a prominent figure in the history of the United States,
earning the military title of Major General in the War of the Re-
bellion and serving with great distinction as Chief Engineer in the
construction of the Central Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad.
EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS 21
In a biographical sketch published in connection with his obituary
it was stated that he "discovered the South Pass" through the Rocky
Mountains; but history accords that honor to Etienne Prevost, about
the year 1832. The pass was well known to and used by the fur
companies operating in that region at an early day, and it was through
information and sketch maps obtained from them that Brigham Young,
with his exploring party, was aided in finding his way by that route
to Great Salt Lake in 1847,
By act of Congress, approved April 6, 1854 (10 Stat, 273), it was
' ' That the judge of the county court, as such, for the county
of Pottawattamie, in the State of Iowa, be, and he is hereby,
authorized to enter at the proper land office, by paying there-
for, at the rate of one dollar and twenty-five cents the acre,
the west half of the southwest quarter of section thirty, the
west half of the northwest quarter of section thirty-one, in
township number seventy -five, north of range forty-three M^est;
the southeast quarter and the east half of the southwest quarter
of section twenty-five, and the northeast quarter and the east
half of the northwest quarter of section thirty-six, in township
seventy-five, north of range forty-four west, in said State of
Iowa, in trust for the several use and benefit of the occupants
thereof, according to their respective interests; . . . ,"
Under which authority Frank Street, then county judge, made what
is known as the townsite entry of "Kanesville" or "Council Bluffs",
May 10, 1854.
Prior to this, however, on June 3, 1853, Cornelius Voorhis, who had
been elected Mayor of the recently incorporated city, applied to
". . . purchase in trust for the benefit of the occupants of
said city, the NWi^SWi/4 of section No. 30, in Township No.
75, north of Range No. 43 west, and the SEi^ and the SE%
SWi/4 of section No. 25, and the NEl^NWl^ and the North-
west quarter of the Northeast quarter of section No. 36, all in
Township No. Seventy-five North of No. 44 West, in the district
of lands subject to sale at Kanesville, Iowa; . . . which
lots of land above described contain Three Hundred and Four-
teen Acres and Fifty Hundredths. ' '
This application was rejected on the ground, chiefly, that no law
existed authorizing entry in that manner; but also because protest
against allowance thereof had been made by the Bishop of the Diocese
of Dubuque, who claimed for the Catholic Church ownership to twenty
22 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
acres in the W3^SWi4 of said section 30, on which stood the old
blockhouse formerly occupied by the De Smet mission; the claim of
the church being based upon the language of Article IX, of the Potta-
wattamie treaty of 1846. This building stood upon the SWI/4SW14 of
section 30, and it is presumed that said tract was omitted from the
Voorhis application for the purpose of avoiding controversy.
In connection with the church protest proceedings were had before
the General Land Office and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which were
pending at the time Judge Street's entry was made, serving to suspend
action thereon and preventing issue of patent for the townsite until
April 20, 1883, almost precisely twenty-nine years from date of entry.
(See Old Blockhouse.)
A survey of the townsite, as entered by Judge Street, was made by
Thomas Tostevin, in 1854, delimitating the boundaries of the holdings
of the several occupants of the land, which served as the basis for all
deeds of conveyance executed by the county judge thereafter, and
upon which now rest all land titles within that portion of the present
Prior to 1857 newspapers, or publications having general subscrip-
tion circulation, were established as follows :
Frontier Guardian, by Orson Hyde, 1849;
Weekly Western Bugle, by Almon W. Babbitt, 1850 ;
Council Bluffs Chronotype, by W. W. Maynard, 1854 ;
Democratic Clarion, by A. P. Bentley, 1855.
The Guardian was absorbed by the Bugle ; the Chronotype and Clarion
died natural deaths; the Bugle was discontinued in 1870, being suc-
ceeded by the Council Bluffs Times, which died a lingering death a
year or so afterward.
The Weekly Nonpareil was established in 1857 by Maynard and
Long; developed a daily edition during the civil war, and is still
"doing business at the old stand".
The first dramatic performance at Council Bluffs was by amateurs,
"The Forrest Dramatic Association", in 1856. Babbitt's Hall, in
the old Phof-nix Block, was fitted with stage and George Simons
painted the scenery. The opening bill was "The Forest Rose" and
"Paddy Miles' Boy". Many of the leading citizens participated in
the performances of the association, which contiinicd for two or three
years when the field was abandoned to professionals represented by
EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
SKETCH MAP OF THE POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTRY
24 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
SKETCH MAP OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTRY.
The Sketch Map from which this diagram is taken — slightly larger
than this copy — was made at or near Council Bluffs in 1837 by Dr.
Edwin James, the first Sub-Agent in charge of the Pottawattamie
Indians in Iowa, to accompany the first official report (August 11,
1837,) submitted by him to General William Clark, Superintendent
of Indian Affairs at St. Louis, and was by the latter forwarded to the
Secretary of War, then in charge of Indian Affairs, with a letter dated
September 20, 1837.
It will be remembered that at the time the sketch map was made
no survey of any character had been made of the country to which
the map relates; that Dr. James made the drawing entirely from his
own observation and from information derived from trappers and
others who had partially explored the region. Taking into considera-
tion these facts the map is wonderfully accurate.
The original of this map is in the office of the Commissioner of
Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. (Pottawattamie File "C"). Notice
the name "Welch's Creek" applied to what is now called Pigeon. It
was named "Indian Knob Creek" by Lewis and Clark, and is shown
on Nicollet's map of 1843 as "Gopher Creek."
THE POTTAWATTAMIE INDIANS.
By treaty executed July 15, 1830 (7 Stat., 328-332), territory on
the Missouri river, now embraced in southwestern Iowa and the north-
west corner of Missouri, was ceded to the United States by the tribes
or nations of Indians known as Sacs, Sioux, lowas, Otoes, Missourias,
Foxes; they reserved hunting privileges therein until such time as
the government should locate upon the lands other Indians, whose
removal from east of the Mississippi river was contemplated, or until
other appropriation thereof should be made.
That portion of the ceded territory now in the State of Missouri
was triangular in form, or wedge shaped, and situated between the
Little Platte and Missouri rivers, being about fifty miles wide at the
northern end and running to a point at the junction of the streams,
opposite the site of the present Kansas City.
By treaties executed September 26 and 27, 1833 (7 Stat., 442 to
448), several bands of Chippewas, Ottawas and Pottawattamies ceded
to the United States their possessory right to lands in the States of
Illinois and Indiana, consenting to removal to the west of the Missis-
sippi river, and a portion of the territory acquired by the United
States under the treaty of 1830, above mentioned, was assigned to
them, being specifically described by metes and bounds in the later
treaty, when finally ratified, as follows :
* ' Beginning at the mouth of Boyer 's river ; thence down the
Missouri river to a point thereon from which a due E line
would strtke the NW corner of the State of Missouri ; thence
along said E line to the NW corner of said State ; thence along
the northern boundary of Missouri till it strikes the line of
the lands of the Sac and Fox Indians; thence northwardly
along said line to a point from which a W line would strike
the sources of the little Sioux river- thence along said W line
till it strikes the sources of said river; thence down said river
to its mouth ; thence down the Missouri river to the beginning,
provided that the said boundary shall contain 5,000,000 acres ;
but should it contain more, then the said boundaries are to be
The northern boundary of this territory was never delimitated ; but
the site of the present city of Council Bluffs was embraced therein;
26 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
the wedge-shaped tract in Missouri was not. It may here be said
that, at the dates of the treaty last mentioned, the north line of the
State of Missouri appeared upon official maps several miles north of
the now existing Missouri-Iowa boundary, and the northwest corner
of Missouri, referred to in the description of lands above given, was
fifty or sixty miles east of the point at which it was finally established
— that is, a few miles east of Bedford, the county seat of Taylor
The removal of the Pottawattamie Indians from Illinois, under
the treaty of 1833, began in the fall of 1835, as hereinafter shown by
official records. The removal was under the supervision of the War
Department of which the Indian Bureau was then a part, and, for
reasons not necessary to state here, the officers and contractors having
charge thereof carried the greater number of their charges to the
triangular territory above mentioned, although this land was not
included in the 1833 treaty. The Indians were located near and
opposite Fort Leavenworth and it was with great difficulty that they
were afterward induced to leave such location and take up residence
upon the Iowa lands.
The lands embraced in the triangle were unconditionally ceded to
the United States by the Indians party to the treaty of 1830 by treaties
of Sept. 10, 17, 27 ; Oct. 15, and Nov. 30, 1836 (see 7 Stat., 510, 511,
516, 524, 525, 527) , and became a part of the State of Missouri. It was
known as the "Platte Purchase". Then the trespassing Indian emi-
grants were forced to remove to the country assigned them in Iowa.
There is some obscurity as to the precise date when the first of the
Indians arrived in the vicinity of the site of the present city of
Council Bluffs. There is some evidence, not fully convincing, in-
dicating that one party reached that locality in 1835 or 1836, but no
official record showing such fact has been found. Stutely E. Wicks,
a white member of the tribe through marriage with an Indian woman,
executed an affidavit at Council Bluffs, April 5, 1854, in which appears
the following allegation, viz. : —
"That he resided in the year 1836 with the Pottawattamie
Indians in the Territory of Iowa immediately adjoining and
contiguous to the Missouri River."
But other allegations made in his deposition are so inconsistent with
facts well established by conclusive evidence as to discredit this, it
THE POTTAWATTAMIE INDIANS 27
being apparent that he was mistaken in respect to dates of occurrences.
(See ''Old Blockhouse".)
The earliest officially authenticated arrival of the Pottawattamies
at or near the site of the present city of Council Bluffs, occurred July
28, 1837, when Brigadier General H. Atkinson, commanding the First
Department of the Western Division of the Army, accompanied by
Dr. Edwin James, recently appointed Indian Sub-agent and placed
in charge of the Pottawattamies, with about one hundred of the women
and children and other members of the nation unable to march, on
board the steamer "Kansas", arrived at a point on the Missouri river
"fifteen or eighteen miles above the mouth of the great Platte river"
and landed "on the left bank of the Missouri river", where he
formally committed the Indians to the care of the sub-agent by letter
of that date wherein he said:
"Hd. Qrs. 1st Dept. West. Div. of the U. S. Army,
Steamboat Kansas, near Belleview, July 28, 1837.
Having been ordered by the General in Chief of the Army,
bearing date 20th June, and given in conformity with instruc-
tions from the Secretary of War of the 19th of June, to remove
the Pottawattamies to their lands agreeably to the treaty made
on the 26th September, 1833, and ratified 21st Februar^^, 1835,
and having landed a portion of them at this point, and the
residue being on their march and will shortly arrive, I consider
the object of the Government accomplished. . . ,
With respect. Sir, Your Ob't Serv't
H. Atkinson, Brig. Gen'l.
Dr. Edwin James,
Sub-Agent for Pottawattamies."
Pursuant to his duty General Atkinson made report to the Governor
of Missouri, as follows:
"Hd. Qrs. 1st Dept. West. Div. of the Army,
Steamboat Kansas, Roche's Point, August 2, 1837.
To His Excellency,
G. W. Boggs, Governor of the State of Missouri.
I have the honor to inform you that, in obedience to orders
from the Secretary of War, I have removed the Pottawattamie
Indians from within the limits of this State to their own lands,
and they have selected a position and located themselves on the
left bank of this river fifteen or eighteen miles above the great
Platte river. . . .
28 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
With highest Consideration, Sir, I have the Honor to be
Your Most Ob't Serv't,
H. Atkinson, Brig. Gen'l U. S. Army."
General Atkinson submitted simultaneous, but separate, reports, in
substantially the same language, to Major General Macomb, General
in Chief of the Army, and to General William Clark, Superintendent
of Indian Affairs. The following is from the letter to General Clark,
"Hd. Qrs. 1st Dept. West. Div. of the U. S. Army,
Jefferson Barracks, August 5, 1837.
I returned yesterday from among the Pottawattamies and
lowas and Sacks of the Missouri River, whither I had been
ordered by the Secretary of War to remove the Pottawattamies
to their own lands agreeably to treaty. Part of the band, accom-
panied by their agent, Dr. James, was landed at a point on
the left bank of the Missouri river fifteen or eighteen miles
above the mouth of the great Platte, whither the main body
were under march and would arrive in four or five days after.
This position or one In the immediate neighborhood is selected
by the Indians as their permanent home. . . .
With Great Respect, Sir, I have the Honor
to be Your Ob't Serv't,
H. Atkinson, Brig. G^n'l U. S. Army,
General William Clark,
Superintendent of Indian Affairs, St. Louis."
The foregoing extracts are taken from unpublished copies of letters
and reports in the files of the Indian Office, Washington, D. C, re-
lating to the emigration of the Pottawattamie Indians under the treaty
of 1833. The removal of those who finally located in Southwestern
Iowa, never exceeding 3000, began in 1835 and terminated in 1838.
With his official report, dated November 28, 1840, the Commissioner
of Indian Affairs submitted a statement from which has been taken the
Captain Russell removed, in the fall of 1835. a large
party of the Chicago Indians, and, in 1836, Mr. Ker-
cheval removed another party ; but it would appear, from
a letter from Dr. James, sub-agent, &c., that both to-
gether did not exceed 1,455
Prior to November, 1837, the same band had removed,
THE POTTAWATTAMIE INDIANS 29
On the 26th of November, 1837, Colonel Sands de-
And, in the fall of 1838, Mr. Berry delivered 150
Whole number of Ottawas, Chippewas and Potta-
wattamies removed prior to 1840 (all in the Council
Bluffs sub-agency) 2,734
(H. Doc, 26th Cong., 2d Sess., Volume 1, Page 253.)
August 4, 1837, Captain D. B. Moore, in command of Company C
of the First Regiment of Dragoons, having marched from Fort Leav-
enworth, arrived at the Council Bluffs Sub-agency for the purpose of
affording protection to the emigrating Pottawattamies from hostile
treatment by their belligerent neighbors to the northward. Pursuant
to his orders he caused to be erected in that vicinity a blockhouse, and,
with his command returned to Fort Leavenworth on November 1,
1837, his report to Colonel Kearny relative to the carrying out of
orders given in connection with the expedition having been dated at
Fort Leavenworth on the 11th of that month. (See "Old Block-
This blockhouse formed the nucleus of Chief Billy Caldwell 's village.
The precise dates when it was begun and finished have not been found ;
nor is it known with certainty when Caldwell and his band took up
residence there ; but it may be presumed that the two events were
The place of first encampment of the Pottawattamies was described
in the first official report submitted by Dr. James, sub-agent, and the
report was accompanied by a sketch map of the new Pottawattamie
country, a diagram prepared from it is printed herein. From Dr.
James' report is taken the following:
"Sub-Agency of Council Bluffs,
(Bellevue) Aug. 11th, 1837.
Gen. Wm. Clark.
Sir: The second detachment of emigrating Pottawattomies,
about seventy-five in number, arrived in their own country pr.
steamboat Howard on the 8th inst. and encamped with those
who came by the Kansas, about two miles above this place in a
grove adjoining a fine dry prairie. This position combines more
advantages than we can find in any other; here we expect to
establish the issue house, and to be joined before many days
by the main body of the nation, who have now been twenty-
30 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
three days on the march by land from the Black Snake
ffills. . ' . .
With great respect your obedient servant,
Edwin James, Sub- Agent for Council Bluffs."
(S. Doc. 25th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 549.)
From the next letter or report submitted by Dr. James, which does
not appear to have been published, though on file in the Indian Office,
the following extract is made, to-wit:
"Sub-Agency of Council Bluifs, Aug. 30th, 1837.
Gen. Wm. Clark.
Sir: All of the Pottawattomies lately resident in the Platte
Purchase have arrived in their own country, except two or three
who died by the way.
They express themselves well satisfied with the lands and
profess a strong desire to cultivate largely ; and to have schools
established among them without loss of time. . . . "
It is not the purpose of this work to give a complete history in
detail of the Pottawattamie Indians in southwestern Iowa, but to
note merely such principal matters of interest among them as pertain
to the immediate vicinity of Council Bluffs, although the writer feels
constrained to make correction of error relating to the general history
of these Indians where the same has come to his notice in the course
of research for this publication. It clearly appears, from the report
of Dr. James, and other authorities herein cited, that all of the Potta-
wattamies who had been upon the Platte Purchase, and about 280 from
east of the Mississippi, not reported by him, reached the neighborhood
of the site of the present city of Council Bluffs in 1837, and about 150,
from the east, joined them in 1838. In his annual report for 1838,
the Commissioner of Indian Affairs said :
"There have emigrated within the year 151 Chippewa,
Ottawa and Pottawattamies. " (Sen. Doc, 25th Cong., 3d Sess.,
Vol. 1, page 443.)
The various bands soon spread over the adjacent country and estab-
lished villages at many points. The village of Billy Caldwell's band
was situated upon the precise spot where the original town of Council
Bluffs b(!camo located in 1846, and probably not over 500 Indians were
at any one time located in that immediate vicinity.
Mr. Jacob Van der Zee, in a paper published in the July, 1913,
THE POTTAWATTAMIE INDIANS 31
number of the Iowa Journal of History and Politics, reprinted as a
booklet under the title ' ' Episodes in the Early History of the Western
Iowa Country", has stated, upon the authority of a number of writers
and publications duly accredited, that :
"Dr. James continued to reside at 'the Council Bluffs sub-
agency' until his resignation in 1838, and after that the Council
Bluffs agent at Bellevue took charge for a while. David Hardin
and his family arrived early in the spring of 1838 on board
the steamer 'Antelope' from Fort Leavenworth. He had been
appointed farmer to the Pottawattamies in September, 1836,
at a salary of $600. It is said that he located near a big spring
on what is now East Broadway, Council Bluff's. The Potta-
wattamies planted very little com or anything else, 'except
here and there one, who happened to have a hoe or a plough'.
One band consisting of about one-third of the nation, headed
by Chief Big Foot, did not enter the Iowa country until the
fall of 1838 and then retired eastward to set up a village on
the Nishnabotna river almost fifty miles away. All the other
villages were from two to fifteen miles distant from the agency
buildings. ' '
Mr. Hardin's name was Davis (not David). He was appointed
Assistant Indian Farmer September 1, 1836, with salary of $600, and
assumed duty in 1837 at the Council Bluffs Sub-agency, under contract
with Dr. James, and appears upon the published roll of Indian Bureau
employees for that year as "David Harolin"; on the 1838 roll the
name is " Hardin". It appears from unpublished records in
the Indian Office that his legal connection with the service terminated
with that year, but he was recognized by the Superintendent of Indian
Affairs as entitled to pay to the close of 1839, when his name was
dropped from the official roll. He continued to reside upon the agency
farm, although efforts were made to oust him, and alleged that he
had not been formally notified of his removal; so, June 20, 1842, a
formal letter of dismissal was delivered to him in person, whereupon
he demanded payment to that date. The attainable records do not
disclose the final disposition of his claim.
He may have located with his family temporarily at the spring on
East Broadway; but the agency farm, — to at least a part of which
one of his sons subsequently acquired title, — was found by the United
States Surveys made in 1851 and 1852, to embrace the Lot 4 (W^^
SWi/i) Sec. 14, and E1/2SE14 Sec. 15, T. 74 N., R. 44 W., 5th P. M.
32 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
(See Kanesville Cash Entry No. 160, made by Richard S. Hardin,
May 28, 1853, General Land Office file.) This land lies two miles
west and four miles south of the site of Billy Caldwell's village, and
is partly within the "4-mile circle from the postoffice," as that circle
is laid down on "Allen's Suburban Map of Council Bluffs" published
In his official report of October 12, 1840, Sub-agent Stephen Cooper
' ' There is no farmer within my agency and the Indians state
they do not wish for one."
(Sen. Doc., 26th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 322.)
(Also see Sen. Doc, 28th Cong., 1st Sess., Vol. 1, page 393.)
May 31, 1838, Father Pierre-Jean De Smet, S. J., accompanied
by Father Felix Verreydt and lay brother Mazelli, arrived at the
Council Bluffs sub-agency and established among the Pottawattamies
a mission which was named St. Joseph but frequently mentioned by
the name St. Mary. The old fort given them by Colonel Kearney, to
which they built an addition, together with some small cabins given
by Chief Caldwell and a dwelling erected by themselves in 1839,
served as church or chapel, school and residence for the missionaries.
(See "Old Blockhouse".)
Father De Smet's early letters from this mission are said to have
been the beginning of the series from which his name became so widely
known. They contained glowing accounts of the success being attained
in the evangelization and education of the Indians ; but he was called
away and sent to other fields late in 1839, and prosperity, which had
already begun to wane, seems to have forsaken the mission entirely
soon after his departure, and it was closed and finally abandoned in
July or August, 1841, having lived but a little more than three years.
No other mission or school of any kind appears to have been established
at the place during the subsequent six years of occupancy by the
Ilon. Dexter C. Bloomer, of Council Bluffs, published more matter
relative to the early history of the Council Bluffs region than any
other person. He was a most estimable and conscientious man ; but,
unfortunately, although a lawyer by profession, he was not a deep
investigator. Nearly all of the quasi historical matter furnished by
him was based upon hearsay, legend and tradition, and much of it
proves upon investigation to have been erroneous. Especially is this
THE POTTAWATTAMIE INDIANS 33
the case with his contributions to Annals of Iowa relative to the
coming of the Pottawattamies and the building of the old blockhouse.
(See Annals of Iowa, Volumes 8-9, pages 523, 527, 666; also Third
Series, Volume 2, page 549.)
Mr. Bloomer fixed the dates of the coming of the Indians and the
erection of the blockhouse as 1838 and 1839 respectively; whereas
they were practically synonymous events which occurred in 1837. He
said that the blockhouse was the "first building erected in Potta-
wattamie county", apparently forgetting or ignoring the fact that
he had also written of the location of Hart 's trading house within that
territory "as early as 1824". In connection with the arrival of the
Indians he said: "Davis Hardin was their agent and came with
them ' ' ; also that, ' ' Mr. Hardin caused a mill to be built on Mosquito
creek for the grinding of grain raised by them and himself".
There is no record connected with the arrival of the Pottawattamie
Indians in the vicinity to indicate that Mr. Hardin was with them.
The record shows that Dr. Edwin James came with the party that
first arrived, having been appointed as a sub-agent and assigned to
the Pottawattamies in April, 1837, and that the emigrating Indians
were delivered to him by General Atkinson on the date of arrival.
The farm settled upon by Mr. Hardin — that is selected by him for the
Indians, whose farmer he was — comprised land near what was after-
ward called "Council Point", but no such name existed at the date
of his arrival. The official records (letters on file in the Indian Office)
show that the mill referred to by Mr. Bloomer was built at the expense
of the Indians, in 1841, by Samuel N. Holcomb, under contract made
in 1840 between him and Chief Billy Caldwell, at which time Mr.
Hardin had no connection with the Indian service.
For several years after the Pottawattamies left the vicinity the mill
just mentioned was operated under lease by Stutely E. Wicks, and, in
time, became known as "Wicks' Mill". Tradition accredited Mr.
Wicks as miller for the Indians, but no government record attests the
fact. He was undoubtedly connected with the institution while under
Indian or government control, but does not appear to have held ap-
pointment as miller. He became owner of the property by purchase
from George Scofield, who entered and acquired title from the govern-
ment to the land upon which it stood. (See Cash Entry No. 184,
Kanesville series. May 31, 1854, in General Land Office files, Wash-
ington, D. C.)
34 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
The fii'st mention of this mill found in published reports of the
Indian ser\dce appears under date of October 2, 1841, wherein Sub-
agent Cooper said :
"There is neither farmer nor school teacher employed by
the Government within this sub-agency.
The Chiefs complain that their treaty stipulations have not
been complied with, and, in consequence of which, they have
built a saw-and-grist mill at their own expense that is doing
a tolerable good business.
Bill Caldwell, the principal business chief of this nation,
and who drew a life annuity of $1,000 per annum, died on the
(Sen. Doc, 27th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 357.)
(Sen. Doc, 28th Cong., 1st Sess., Vol. 1, page 393.)
Some of the errors above mentioned have been repeated and per-
petuated in publications of later date. Among those that have come
to the attention of the writer are :
"History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa", by Homer H.
Field and Jaseph R. Reed;
"History of Iowa", by Hon. Benjamin F. Cue;
"History of Western Iowa", published by the Western Pub-
lishing Company, Sioux City;
"History of Mills County, Iowa", published by the Iowa His-
torical Company, Chicago;
"History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa", published by O. L.
Baskin & Co., Chicago;
"Biographical History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa", 1891,
published by the Lewis Publishing Company;
"Episodes in the Early History of Western Iowa", by Jacob
Van der Zee, reprinted from the July, 1913, number of the
Iowa Journal of History and Politics, by the State Historical
Society of Iowa, Iowa City.
A quotation from the work last-above mentioned has been made
hereinbefore which contains, in addition to other things, the statement
that Bigfoot's band did not "enter the Iowa country until the fall
of 1838" and then "set up a village on the Nishnabotna River"
fpage 24). On page 25, referring to the fear of the Pottawattamies
soon aftf'r aiTival that tliey would be attacked by the Sioux, it is
"To quiet tlicir ;ilarm and apprehensions Colonel Stephen
Watts Kearny hastened from Fort Ijeavenwortli in command
of a bo<ly of dragoons, arriving on l)()ard the steamer 'Antelope'.
THE POTTAWATTAMIE INDIANS 35
They at once erected a block-house twenty-four feet square
and set up barracks and tents on the ground near by. ' '
Both of the statements are erroneous. According to the official
records Bigfoot's band arrived in the Iowa country in the fall of 1837.
Indian Agent John Dougherty, then in charge of the Pottawattamie
sub-agency, in his official report dated Bellevue, November 25, 1838,
' * Big Foot 's band came too late to raise corn last spring. They
came in last fall and received their annuities and rations, and
returned to the Des Moines River, where they spent the winter
with some of the Missouri Sacs, and I understand it is their
intention to return to that place as soon as they receive their
annuities again." (Sen. Doc, 25th Cong., 3d Sess., Vol. 1, page
Official documents indicate that Colonel Kearny was officially
present in the vicinity of Council Bluffs' site spring of 1838; summer
of 1839, and in 1840 ; no other visits mentioned. On the latter occasion
he was in command of troops contemplating punitive measures against
the Pawnees and Otoes. The other visits were for examination of sites
for a fort, on the west (right) side of the river, resulting in the location
of the old fort which bore his name at the site of Nebraska City. He
left Fort Leavenworth June 30, 1846, for participation in the war
with Mexico. (Sen. Doc, 29th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 49.)
Referring to the location of the several bands or tribes under his
jurisdiction. Sub-agent Cooper, in his report dated October 12, 1840,
"Many of them have large fields, well fenced in, with good
log cabins, and are settled in villages from two to five, ten or
fifteen miles from the Council Bluffs sub-agency — except Big
Foot's band, who live upon the waters of the Nishnebottona,
about fifty miles east of this agency, which band constitutes
about one-third of the nation." (Sen. Doc, 26th Cong 2d
Sess., Vol. 1, page 321.)
It is within the knowledge of the writer, founded on good authority,
that Big Foot's village was on Indian creek, a tributary of the Nish-
nabotna river, a short distance above the confluence with that river
which place subsequently became known, and still appears upon maps,
as Iranistan. That is, the village was "on the waters of the Nish-
nebottona", but not actually on that stream.
36 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
The report last quoted showed, also, that the offices of the sub-
agency were still situated nearly opposite the mouth of the Platte
river, and that the number of Indians within the sub-agency was about
two thousand, of whom 550 were warriors. (See Sen. Doc, 26th Cong.,
2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 322.)
An additional report was submitted by Sub-agent Cooper, in the
fall of 1840, wherein appears the following:
' ' Schools, there are none here under the authority of the gov-
ernment. There are two Roman Catholic priests residing within
my agency, of good moral character, who set a good example to
the Indians and half breeds. They have a chapel, and school,
and teacher, and have several young Indians in the school who
are coming on pretty well." (Sen. Doc, 26th Cong., 2d Sess.,
Vol. 1, page 397.)
The original landing of the Indians in 1837 was in the vicinity of
the site of the agency farm as located by Mr. Hardin ; possibly at the
lauding shown by government survey about a mile below Hardin's
house, now in Lake Manawa. Soon after the landing headquarters of
the sub-agency were established at a point nearly opposite the mouth
of the Platte river. Sometime prior to 1845 removal to Point aux
Poulos was effected. July 24, of that year, Sub-agent Elliott re-
''The number in this sub-agency is about 2000.
We have no schools or missions among the Pottawattamies.
The half breeds, men and women, among the Pottawattamies,
all wear the dress of the whites, and adopt our mode of life
so far as their knowledge and means enable them to do so.
The office of this sub-agency is located at Point aux Poulos,
on the northeast bank of the Missouri river, about twenty miles
below the mouth of Boycr's river, and opposite Bellevue, as
marked on the map. The distance to the Missouri State line is
about thirty-five miles. High Creek postoffice, in Atchison
(late Holt) County, Missouri, is the nearest postoffice to this
The three trading houses of this sub-agency are at Point
aux Poulos." (Sen. Doc, 29th Cong., 1st Sess., Vol. 1, page
When the offices of the sub-agency were removed from the point
opposite th(! mouth of the Platte; where removed to at the time, or
when established at Point aux Poulos, are questions not answerable
THE POTTAWATTAMIE INDIANS 37
from any of the discovered official records. In the spring of 1843,
when Captain Burgwin's cantonment of Fort Croghan was inundated
by the Missouri river, it appears that the sub-agency establishment
was also flooded, and it is not improbable that the offices were re-
moved from the site then occupied at the same time as the troops
removed to the highlands. Captain Burgwin was at the time in
charge, temporarily, of the sub-agency affairs, and it is probable that
he had removed the offices to his cantonment for convenience, and
that they were removed to the same point to which the military estab-
lishment was taken.
Richard S. Elliott was appointed sub-agent of the Council Bluffs
agency early in 1843, and assumed charge on June 1st of that year.
In a letter of that date, addressed to the Superintendent of Indian
Affairs at St. Louis, he reported his arrival and acknowledged receipt
of the papers and effects of the sub-agency from Captain Burgwin
as of that date. The precise point from which he wrote does not
appear, but he said:
"The mills for the agency for lumber and grist are in toler-
able order; and a blacksmith shop is in progress of erection
at the mills, the tools having been removed from the river on
account of the high waters of a few weeks since.
' ' I find no suitable buildings for the agency. There is a cabin
some distance down the river from the point at which I write
this, but it is unfortunately located as well for the health and
comfort of the Sub-Agent as for the business of the Indians;
and it should, I think, be sold as soon as possible. It might,
I have no doubt, be disposed of to the present occupant, Mr.
Stephen Cooper, who is a mere tenant by sufferance, but would
be very unwilling to leave the place if he could avoid it. If
authorized to do so I will dispose of the building. Mr. Cooper
is a licensed trader.
"Under the circumstances I deem it my duty, as well to the
Indians as to my family, to request an allowance of at least
five hundred dollars to erect a suitable agency house, and, if
I receive the allowance, I will locate the building so as to
accommadate the Indians during their stay in the country, and
to bring the government a good price when they leave. I have
no house now. . . ."
Soon after his arrival Mr. Elliott recommended the appointment
as interpreter for the sub-agency of Claude Laf ramboise, to succeed
Louis Ouilmot, and, in a letter dated July 31, 1843, explained to the
38 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
Superintendent of Indian Affairs his reasons for the recommendation
" .... My reasons for nominating Mr. Lafraraboise
were these : Mr. Louis Ouilmot informed me that he did not
desire to remain in the situation, and Mr. Laframboise appeared
to be well qualified, resides near my office at Caldwell 's Village,
and is very hospitable to the Indians. . . ."
It thus appears that at the date of that letter the offices of the sub-
agency, such as they were, were at Billy Caldwell's village, the site
of the present city of Council Bluffs. How long they were maintained
at that point does not appear; but it is evident that the location was
merely temporary, and that they were established (probably re-estab-
lished) at Point aux Poulos, where was situated the house mentioned
as being occupied by Mr. Cooper, as indicated by Mr. Elliott's letter
of June 1, 1843, quoted and cited above. It does not clearly appear
whether Mr, Elliott was allowed the funds for the erection of a new
house; the correspondence relating to his request indicated that the
Superintendent of Indian Affairs was opposed to the making of such
expenditure at the time.
September 26, 1843, Sub-Agent Elliott, who had been in charge of
the sub-agency for about four months, wrote regarding the Potta-
wattamie lands as follows :
"These lands are exceedingly fertile, but, owing to the
scarcity of timber, of rock and indeed minerals of every kind,
they are not so valuable for the purposes of the white man as
one would suppose by looking at the map, which shows this
region to be the only outlet to market for the vast Territory
of Iowa. Still, their value is sufficient to justify the Govern-
ment in paying a very handsome price for them, and it is mani-
fest that they must be treated for at a very early date."
This appraisement of the value of the Pottawattamie lands must be
regarded as almost humorous by readers of the present day when
there is scarcely an acre of the entire domain, except that occupied
by towns and cities, highways and other public service works, not
actually devoted to purposes of agriculture of the most profitable
(•hara(!tor; and when the newspapers frequently announce sale at from
(Hie hundred and twoity-five to two hundred dollars per acre at public
auction in the settlement of estates, &c.
Within the territory formerly occupied by the Pottawattamies are
THE POTTAWATTAMIE INDIANS 39
thousands of acres of the finest and most profitable apple orchards
in the world, while the production of corn and other field crops
throughout the region is phenomenal. These, coupled with the stock-
raising pursuits of the people, justify the belief that there exists no
richer section anywhere.
Early in 1842 circumstances indicated serious trouble between the
Pottawattamies and Sioux, the latter never having become reconciled
to the occupancy of the country by the former. The Pottawattamies,
anticipating attack, had arranged for assistance in the defense with
neighboring Otoes, lowas and Sacs, and war seemed imminent. Colonel
Kearny, in command at Fort Leavenworth, despatched Captain J. H.
K, Burgwin, with a company of the First Dragoons to the scene of
action. The troops arrived May 31st and established a military post
near the Indian farm which they named Camp Fenwick. In the fall
they constructed a log cantonment and the name was changed to Fort
Croghan, where the command spent the winter. In April, 1843, a
freshet in the Missouri river inundated the cantonment, compelling
the command to retire to the highlands. Soon afterward the eminent
naturalist, John James Audubon, visited the place and there for the
first time saw a Yellow-headed Troupial. The fort was abandoned
October 6, 1843. (See Fort Croghan.)
The Pottawattamie occupancy of the territory in Iowa, in which is
included the site of the present city of Council Bluffs, continued for
a period of a little more than ten years — 1837 to 1847 — their possessory
right having been terminated by a treaty negotiated at Washington
during the winter and spring of 1846 (see 9 Stat. 853-856), which was
signed by the Iowa bands June 5th, and by those on the Osage river
June 17th, of that year. Under the terms of this treaty the Indians
relinquished claim to the Iowa lands receiving in exchange a money
consideration and a tract of land thirty miles square in Kansas, and
they were obligated to remove within two years from the date of
the ratification of the treaty by the United States Senate, which
occurred July 22, 1846, and the treaty was officially promulgated by
proclamation issued the following day. These bands were composed
of Ottawa, Chippewa and Pottawattamie Indians and, it was pro-
vided by the treaty just mentioned that thereafter they should be
known as the " Pottowautomie Nation".
The removal occurred, or was at least begun, in the fall of 1847,
and in reference to that event Thomas H. Harvey, Superintendent of
40 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
Indian Affairs at St. Louis, addressed a communication to the Com-
missioner of Indian Affairs, dated October 29, 1847, wherein he said :
"The Potawatomies, although not compelled to emigrate
until July, 1848, have commenced emigration under the most
satisfactory circumstances. I attended the payment at the
Council Bluffs sub-agency, and urged their immediate emigra-
tion ; they entered into it with great spirit, and immediately
after payment, started for their new homes, crossing the Mis-
souri river at different points in large parties. ... I
presume before this reaches you, the Potawatomie emigration
will have been completed. ' '
And he added, as an apparent important piece of information, this
"At the late Pottawattamie treaty (at both the Council
Bluffs and Osage river sub-agencies) the Indians gave their
notes to the traders for more than ninety thousand dollars."
(Sen. Doc, 30th Cong., 1st Sess., Vol. 1, page 837.)
The total number of these Indians did not exceed three thousand,
so the notes given to the traders represented indebtedness amounting
to about thirty dollars per capita.
The precise date when the Pottawattamies began their removal
from the vicinity of the site of the present city of Council Bluffs may
not be more definitely fixed than it is by the preceding quotation;
that is about September, 1847. It is clearly established, however, that
the removal had been completely effected prior to the fall of 1848. In
his official report dated Fort Leavenworth, September 26, 1848, Indian
Agent R. S. Cummins said :
"A census of the Pottawattamies I have not been able to
take; even if they had been taken, they would not fully have
answered the purpose. These Indians have but recently emi-
grated to their new country." (Sen. Doc, 30th Cong., 2d
Sess., Vol. 1, page 445.)
Li a communication dated October 4, 1848, the Superintendent of
Indian Affairs at St. Louis, said:
"The Pottawattamies, who, at the date of my annual report
of last year, liad not emigrated, have since removed to their
new homes, without causing the slightest embarrassment to
the f^overnmont ; they deserve much credit for tlieir prompt-
THE POTTAWATTAMIE INDIANS 41
ness, especially as the entire emigration was effected within
the time limit of the treaty for their removal. They are pleased,
and justly so, with their new homes, and I am gratified to be
able to inform you that they are now living in fraternal amity,
after having lived in separate bauds for so many years. ' ' ( Sen.
Doc, 30th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 439.)
In his official report for the year, dated November 30, 1848, the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs stated that :
"Within the past year the Pottawattamies, who have hereto-
fore been separated (the larger portion being in Iowa and the
others on the Osage river), have completed their removal to
their new country on the Kansas river, between the Delawares
and Shawnees, where they are now comfortably settled. . . .
Much credit is due them, not only for their prompt removal,
but for the peaceable and orderly manner in which it was con-
ducted. It was a new feature in our Indian system, to see an
entire tribe of Indians quietly and without disorder of any kind
remove themselves to a new country, nearl}^ two hundred miles
from most of them, in conformity with a stipulation to that
effect in a treaty which had been made with the government;
and bearing their own expenses out of funds set apart for that
purpose." (Sen. Doc, 30th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 395.)
The Commissioner, in this same report, referring to the Winne-
bago Indians, said:
"The removal of this tribe, and of the Pottawattamies, has
entirely freed Iowa of her Indian population." (Sen. Doc,
30th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 435.)
During their residence in Southwestern Iowa the Pottawattamies
made very slight progress toward civilization and established little
or nothing resembling permanent homes or improvements of value.
Their shortcomings in these respects were due, no doubt to their un-
settled condition. There was scarcely an interval between the com-
pletion of the treaty of 1833 by which they surrendered their lands
in Illinois and Indiana and the beginning of overtures for the cession
of the lands to which they were about to be removed, it having occurred
to some one that they should be located farther south, at some point
south of the Missouri river. (Sen. Doc, 24th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1,
pages 392-3, 395-6.)
Efforts to secure a new treatv with these Indians continued to be
42 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
made from time to time thereafter during their entire occupancy of
the lands in Iowa and on the Osage river. Sub-agent R. B. Mitchell,
in a report dated September 11, 1846, said :
"The unsettled condition of this nation for some years has
prevented their making the improvements necessary for con-
venience and comfort." (Sen. Doc, 29th Cong., 2d Sess.,
Vol. 1, page 300.)
The Missouri river near the site of the present city of Council
Bluffs was reached by the advance guard of the Mormon emigration
to the Rocky Mountains, June 14, 1846; a few days after the Potta-
wattamie treaty had been signed by the Indians in that vicinity, and
three days before it was signed by those residing in the Osage country.
Their arrival was announced to the Department at Washington by
report of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, dated St. Louis, Sep-
tember 5, 1846. He said :
"There is at this time, and has been for several months, a
large number of Mormons (supposed to be 4,000 to 8,000) in
the Indian country. They have passed into the Potawatomie
Country at the Council Bluffs. A large number have crossed
the Missouri river and are on their way to Grand Island, in
the Platte or Nebraska river. Another portion of them are de-
sirous to remain next spring on the Boyer river, in Potawatomie
Country ; to which they have obtained the consent of the In-
dians. The sub-agent at that place reports that they are con-
ducting themselves well, and do not seem disposed to interfere
at all with the Indians. I have instructed him to use his in-
fluence to prevent a waste of timber by them." (Sen. Doc,
29th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 287.)
These Mormons, the Pottawattamie Indians, and here and there a
"gentile" pioneer, occupied this southwestern Iowa country, the
Mormon villages being scattered about as greatly as those of the
Indians, for upward of a year prior to Indian removal, and, inasmuch
as neither the records of the Indian Office nor those of the Mormon
Church disclose serious difficulty among them, it may be assumed that
they dwelled together in harmony and brotherly love. (See The
THE OLD BLOCKHOUSE.
Perhaps no one object at or near the site of the present city of
Council Bluffs has afforded a wider field for surmise, discussion and
dissemination of erroneous information than the "Old Blockhouse"
of frontier days. It stood for about twenty years (1837 to 1857) upon
the plateau crowning the blunt nose of the hill jutting into and almost
perpendicularly towering, something like fifty feet, above the road,
now called Broadway, between the present-day Grace and Union
streets (the latter being known as Spring Street at an early day).
From the earliest occupation of the country by white people — 1846 —
to the time of its demolition — 1856-1857 — it was commonly mentioned
as the "Old Fort" or "Old Mission", both of which designations were
appropriate, because it was originally constructed by United States
troops for military purposes (1837) and afterward (1838-1841) occu-
pied as a Jesuit Mission known as St. Joseph or St. Mary.
June 4, 1853, at the age of a little more than ten years, the writer
began residence at Council Bluffs with the family of his father —
Lysander W. Babbitt, — at which time the "Old Fort" or "Mission
House", surmounted by a cross, occupied the above-described site.
His home was about a half mile farther up (east and north) on
Broadway — now known as "Babbitt Place", and almost daily while
the old building remained he passed it at a distance of only a few
yards, and often played about it with other children. In his memory
it is pictured as a log structure, about 24 x 40 feet in dimension of
ground space, one and one-half story in height, with an ordinary
sloping roof, with embrasures (small windows) on north and west
sides, and loopholes for musketry all around, standing in the open
without stockade or other enclosure, or any evidence that it had ever
been enclosed. Near by was a grave yard surrounded by a fence
constructed of hand-riven palings.
During the year 1856 intense rivalry existed between what were
termed "up-town" and "down-town" portions of the city. The
principal hotel, recently erected, was located "down town", and, for
the benefit of their end of the toAvn, a company of "up-towners" was
formed for the purpose of building a better and finer hostelry, the
site of the old blockhouse being selected for its location. The old
44 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
fort, then in a tumbled-down condition, was removed either that
Fall or the following Spring, ?nd the ground, still practically in its
natural condition (a plateau but slightly graded when the blockhouse
was built) was cut away so that a precipitous bank something like
thirty feet high formed the south line of Pierce Street, where the
sharp pitch of the great bluff swept down to the plateau, and the
grading necessary to the preparation of the hotel building site greatly
reduced the elevation of the blunt nose of bluff jutting onto Broadway.
Beyond the grading here mentioned nothing was done toward the
erection of the new hotel ; probably because of the financial crisis of
the Fall of 1857.
An article entitled "The Old Blockhouse at Council Bluffs", written
in August, 1896, by Hon. Dexter C. Bloomer, of Council Bluffs, ap-
peared in the October issue of the Annals of Iowa for that year (Third
Series, Volume 2, No. 7, page 549), with an illustration said to
have been prepared from a sketch made from memory by George
Simons, wherein it is said :
' ' This was the first building erected in Pottawattamie county.
In 1838 the Pottawattamie Indians were removed from the
'Platte Purchase', so-called, in Missouri, to a location on the
Missouri river which subsequently was organized into a county
and took the name of the tribe. . . .
"In 1839 the general government stationed two companies of
troops among these Indians for the purpose of keeping peace
and quiet among them, although, through the careful manage-
ment of their Agent, their presence did not prove necessary for
that purpose. These troops located themselves a short distance
up in the bluffs in the little subsidiary valley of Indian creek
and near a living spring found at that point. Here, on a gentle
elevation, in the same year, they erected a blockhouse of logs and
rough puncheons and raised the American flag over it. Its sides
were pierced with numerous holes tlirough which muskets
could be discharged in case of assault from without. The
barracks, tents and parade grounds, and probably some minor
structures, were located in the vicinity of this building. No
record can be found of the. names of tlie officers in command of
these troops. They did not remain a great while, for the reason
already stated. With the Indians came a Roman Catholic
Mission in charge of Fathers De Sraet and Verreydt. Tiiey also
built for themselves a rude dwelling, but when the troops left
they took possession of the government buldings, blockhouse
and barracks, for n^ligious purposes, erecting a wooden cross
THE OLD BLOCKHOUSE
over one of them. When the writer took up his residence in
Council Bluffs, in 1855, these buildings (as shown in the cut),
one of them surmounted by a cross, were yet standing. . . . "
In the four-volume ''History of Iowa" compiled and published by
Hon. Benjamin F. Gue, the foregoing narrative, with identically the
same illustration is substantially reproduced. (Volume 1, pages
THE OLD BLOCKHOUSE, FORT AND MISSION
(Picture by George Simon.)
This is a reproduction of an illustration accompanying an article
by Hon. D. C. Bloomer, published in Annals of Iowa in 1896 (3d
Series, Volume 2, page 594), the cut having been made from a painting
said to have been done by George Simons, from memory.
46 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
In a two- volume "History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa", written,
compiled and published by Homer H. Field and Hon. Joseph R,
Reed, of Council Bluffs (Volume 1, page 6), appears the following:
"The conditions above described continued until 1838, when,
during President Van Buren's administration, the Pottawat-
tamie Indians were assigned a reservation here, and Davis
Hardin was appointed to instruct them in farming. He, with
his family and a company of soldiers arrived here on the
steamer Antelope from Fort Leavenworth, in the spring of
that year. . . . Arriving here they found the country
a solitude. They located by a big spring on what is now East
Broadway and the soldiers immediately commenced building
a house for the Hardins, and then a fort on the promontory
that was a continuation of the hill between Franklin and
Lincoln avenues, and which at that time jutted into what is
now Broadway, where the dwelling of the late John Clausen
now stands. ' '
Many other stories relating to this old fort have been published
from time to time in current newspapers and otherwise, and the date
of construction has been stated by some to have been as early as
1819, running from that to the years above given ; but, in no instance
that has come to the knowledge of the writer, has a letter-press descrip-
tion of it, other than as above set out, been given.
Hon. H. H. Field, a man of experience in estimating the dimensions
of standing buildings, now residing at Council Bluffs, having been
there continuously since 1855, in answer to inquiry, says —
"The ruins of the old blockhouse were standing when I first
came here. I should think it was about 20 feet square. It
disappeared in the Spring of 1857, and several feet of the
ground was taken off and put on Broadway to improve the
grade ; but by what authority I do not know, but it was rumored
that a hotel was to be built there by L. W. Babbitt and Dr.
S. H. Craig. If there was anything in it the great crash that
came in the Fall of that year put an end to it. I don't know
when the (Government relinquished title to it, but suppose when
.Judge Casady was commissioned to make deeds to the occu-
pants. John Warner was the first that owned it to my knowl-
edge as he <'Tnployed me to fence it, and John Clausen the last,
as I worked on liis dwelling some forty years ago. The lot then
consisted of nearly all the square hounded by Broadway, G-race,
Union and Pierce streets."
THE OLD BLOCKHOUSE 47
Hon. Spencer Smith whose arrival at Council Bluffs was at about
the same time as that of the writer, but at a slig^htly earlier age,
answering an inquiry, says :
' * Since the receipt of your letter I have been trying to refresh
my memory of early days, but find little response as to the
'Mission House' of which you make inquiry. I called on my
way to lunch today at the library and took a look at the
picture in Mr. Bloomer's sketch which appears to me about as
it looked when I first saw it. I know of no picture of the ' Old
Fort ' as we called it other than the one given by Mr, Bloomer. ' '
Mr. Ephraim Huntington, at about the age of seven years, began
residence as a member of the family of his father — John Huntington,
— at Kanesville, as the place was then named, in 1850. In a con-
versation with the writer, in September, 1915, speaking of the old
blockhouse, he said:
''I remember it as it appeared to me when a boy and
until it was demolished. It was originally surrounded with
a stockade several feet high and constructed of very heavy oak
timbers. ' '
In a communication dated June 13, 1916, referring to the illustra-
tion above mentioned which had been called to his attention, he said :
"The picture of the Fort and Mission resembles the build-
ings, &c., very much as I remember it."
Reverend Henry De Long, then a boy of twelve or fourteen years,
accompanied the Mormons from Nauvoo as far as the site of Council
Bluffs, arriving in July, 1846, and has continued to reside there ever
since. He is now the "dean of old settlers" in the county. Upon
request he furnished a very complete description of the "Old Fort''
as memory recalls its first appearance to him, to-wit :
"There were three buildings in the fort. The main building-
was what we'd call a story and a half, about sixty feet long and
twenty-four feet wide, running parallel with Broadway. It
was made of hewed logs and the logs were hewed square so
they fit right down together. The port holes were made by
sawing out half of the log and should judge they were about
eight feet apart.
"There was a building just west and south of the main
building, built in the form of a chapel, with a place for a bell
48 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
in the center, I think it was used by the Catholics. This
chapel was about 24 x 30.
"There was a small one-story building back of the fort, to
the east. Don't know what it was used for, but it looked like
it might have been officer 's quarters. It was about 16 x 20,
"The roofs were made of clapboards which were smooth and
of much better appearance than usual.
"The chapel roof was built four square, running to a center
containing a cupola.
"The other roofs were made with gable ends.
' ' There was no stockade surrounding the fort, ' '
Commenting upon the illustration accompanying the Bloomer article,
to which his attention had been directed after he had written the
foregoing description, "Uncle Henry", as he is familiarly called by
intimate friends, said:
"With the main building I speak of torn down, the picture
is probably a fair representation of the fort in 1855; but I
think this picture was drawn by someone from memory and
is not an exact copy of the buildings as they were. The
picture shows two buildings and the smaller one is what I
recollect was probably used for officers' quarters."
It is presumed, in absence of citations of authority or any sources
of information by the writers named, that all of the foregoing matter
quoted is founded upon memory, hearsay, legend and tradition; and
it is given here for such consideration as may be merited. Official
data relating to the old blockhouse appears to be meagre and difficult
of access or discovery at this late date.
In connection with Mr, J. N, Nicollet's report of his explorations
made in the Missouri river country in 1838 and 1839 is published a
map prepared by the War Department, upon which at or near the
site of the present city of Council Bluffs is shown "Fort Croghan".
For a time it was assumed by the writer that the old blockhouse and
Fort Croghan were identical ; but, in a certain sense, tliis was error.
No name for the old blockhouse appears in any of the official records of
the War Department nor in those of the Office of Indian Affairs,
though it is mentioned occasionally in letters from the agents and
sub-agents. In Mr, Nicollet's report a reference to "Camp Kearney"
is apparently, but not necessarily, applicable to this old fort,
P"'ort Croghan was not a blockhouse or fortification ; but merely
a military cantonment located, originally, near the old Indian farm
THE OLD BLOCKHOUSE 49
upon which Mr, Davis Hardin resided while and after acting as farmer
for the Pottawattamies ; and, because of a flood in the Missouri river in
April, 1843, was removed to the hills. The old blockhouse appears to
have been used by the troops by whom Fort Croghan was founded,
and was no doubt considered a part of that fort or cantonment.
Richard S. Elliott, Pottawattamie sub-agent, in a letter to the
Superintendent of Indian Affairs (unpublished) dated June 1, 1843,
''There are in the block house of the Dragroons some goods
which were seized in November last, and which yet, as I under-
stand, await their disposition by the Department."
Senate Document No. 237, 26th Congress, 2d Session, consists solely
of a "Eeport intended to illustrate a map of The Hydrographic Basin
of Upper Mississippi River, made by J. N. Nicollet while in employ
under the Bureau of the Corps of Topographical Engineers", which
is the map referred to above. On pages 93 and 94 is the following
language, to-wit :
"Assured that every reader will partake of my sentiments
on this subject, I shall, without further prelude or apology,
acknowledge the services I have received, in this respect, from
. . . The Revs. P. J. De Smet and Felix Werreydf, mis-
sionaries among the Pottawattamies at Camp Kearney, near
Council Bluffs on the Missouri. . . ."
On. pages 98 and 99 is found matter pertinent to the subject here
under treatment, and, although some of it may seem to be irrelevant,
it is fully quoted because of the general information contained, to-wit :
''When the course of my observations carried me to the
regions of the North and Northwest, the stationary barometer
of St, Louis, to which my portable barometers were referred,
became too distant for simultaneous observations to be any
longer comparable. I had foreseen this difficulty, and had
succeeded in establishing, as soon as needed, two new fixed
barometer stations, much higher north — the one at St, Peters,
on the Mississippi: the other at Camp Kearney, near Council
Bluffs, on the Missouri. At each of these points was a sta-
tionary barometer, corresponding four or five times a day with
the barometer at St, Louis, and aft'ording, at the same time,
for my portable barometers, a reference to one or the other,
according as my position at any time brought one or the other
"Nevertheless, as both of these stations are at a great dis-
50 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
tance from St. Louis, whether the length of the journey neces-
sary for communication between them, or their geographic
positions and direct distance apart, be considered, it became
necessary that their differences of level, as respects St. Louis,
should be determined by the greatest number of observations
possible. In this view, I deem it fit to introduce here the
results of these determinations :
"1. The station at Camp Kearney was occupied by the
venerable missionaries, Rev. Messrs. De Smet and Werreydt.
I furnished them with a barometer, well compared with that
of Dr. Engelman at St. Louis, and with my own, and delivered
it at their missionary station in good condition. Mr. De Smet,
with whom I had passed some days of travel on the Missouri,
soon made himself acquainted with the manner of taking obser-
vations; and proved it, in furnishing me with a four-months'
series, made with a care that the most scrupulous examination
could only confirm, and embracing the period between the 17th
of May and 17th of September, 1839, — an interval during
which I was exploring in the Northwest.
' ' The barometer at St. Louis was situated in a small exposed
plain ; that at Camp Kearney was placed in the valley of the
Missouri, which is deep, and often three to five miles wide.
Using only the noon observations for both, grouping them 20,
and applying the reduction of the stations to their respective
levels, the calculations give the following results :
Station at Camp Kearney, above St. Louis by —
20 observations at noon in May and June, 1839 596 feet
20 " " " "June,1839.. 680''
20 " " " " June and July, 1839 633 "
20 ** " " '' July and August, 1839 659 "
20 *' " " " August, 1839 694 "
13 ** " " " September, 1839 ...667 '*
113 " " " " Mean difference in level.... 655 "
Reduction of St. Louis to Gulf 332 "
Altitude of Missouri at low water, near Council
Bluffs, above Gulf of Mexico 1,037 "
The foregoing matter may be found, also, in House Executive
Documents, 28th Congress, 2d Session, Vol. 1, No. 52, page 94.
The name "Camp Kearney" used by Mr. Nicollet probably relates
to the camp of his exploring party, in the near vicinity of the old
blockhouse, and was not intended to apply either to the blockhouse
itself or to any other military encampment proper in the neighbor-
THE OLD BLOCKHOUSE 51
hood. The missionaries De Smet and Verreydt were at the time in
occupancy of the blockhouse.
A letter of inquiry, addressed to the War Department, in which
reference was made to Mr. Nicollet's report, was returned with en-
dorsement as follows:
The Adjutant General's Office
Washington, January 22, 1916.
"Respectfully returned to —
"Mr. Charles H. Babbitt,
933 Massachusetts Avenue, N. W.,
Washington, D. C.
' ' Such search of the records of this Department as it has been
found practicable to make, based on the data submitted, has
resulted in failure to identify any record of the establishment
of a Camp Kearny at or near the present city of Council
Bluffs, Iowa. The records indicate that Captain D. B. Moore,
with Company C, 1st Dragoons, was sent by Colonel S. W.
Kearny from Fort Leavenworth to that section in 1837 for
the purpose of protecting the Pottawattamies, then about to
move to their new country, and with instructions to throw up
a block house of one story about 25 feet square, and with
sufficient loop holes, at such place as Captain Moore might
deem eligible. The location is more particularly described as
being above the State Line of Missouri, near the river and
not far from Belle View. Captain Moore returned to Fort
Leavenworth early in November, 1837, when he reported to
Colonel Kearney that he had reached the locality mentionel
August 4, 1837 ; erected a block-house and departed November
"The records further show that Colonel Kearny himself
spent about 12 days in that vicinity between April 12 and 24,
1838, and in that time examined the country above and below
the Platte and fixed upon a site for a military post.
"It is further shown by the records that Captain J. H. K.
Burgwin, 1st Dragoons, with a company of that regiment, was
stationed near Council Bluffs from about May 31, 1842, to
about October 6, 1843. He called his post Camp Fenwick, and
on his recommendation it was named by the War Department
about November, 1842, Fort Croghan. It appears that this
post was about 6 miles from 'the Bluff' and at a point that
was reached by an excessive overflow in the Spring of 1843.
"Nothing has been found of record to indicate that any of
the stations or posts mentioned was ever called Camp Kearny
H. P. McCain,
The Adjutant General.''
52 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
A personal examination of the records referred to in the foregoing
note disclosed the following orders and reports relating to the errand
of Captain Moore and the erection of a blockhouse, to- wit :
' ' Order No. 11. Headquarters 1st Dept. West. Division,
Fort Leavenworth, July 19, 1837.
"Colonel Kearny will detail a Troop of Dragoons from his
Regiment for imm.ediate service in the vicinity of the position
to be occupied by the Pottawattamie Indians opposite to Belle-
view on the Missouri river. Special instructions will be given
to the Commanding Officer of the Troop respecting the duties
to be assigned to it. . . .
''By order of Brigadier General Atkinson.
T. S. Alexander,
A, D. C. & Ast. A.G."
' ' Headquarters 1st Regiment Dragoons,
Fort Leavenworth, July 21, 1837.
"You will, in command of Company 'C,' march to the Potta-
wattamie country, above the State line of Missouri, and take
a position in it near the river, and not far from 'Belle View',
so as to intervene between those Indians and the Sack and others
as reside above them.
"As the Pottawattamies are now about to move to their
New Country your object will be to afford them protection
from being molested by other Indians. . . .
"I wish you to throw up a Blockliouse of one story, about
25 feet square, at such place as you may deem eligible, with a
sufficient number of loop holes, which will serve as a hospital
for any sick you may have and as a storehouse for your pro-
visions. . . .
S. W. Kearny,
Colonel 1st Regiment Dragoons.
Captain D. B. Moore,
1st Regiment Dragoons."
"Headquarters 1st Regiment Dragoons,
Fort Leavenworth, August 5, 1837.
" ... Company 'C, (66 strong) under Captain Moore,
1st Dragoons, by order of Brigadier General Atkinson, of the
19th, left here, on the 22nd \iHo., to take a position in the Potta-
wattamy Country for the purpose of giving confidence to those
emigrating Indians and affording them protection (if neces-
sary) froiri being (iistiirbcd by the Indians above them. The
THE OLD BLOCKHOUSE 53
service of the company, I think, will not be required after the
1st of October, at which time I will look for its return.
S. W. Kearny,
Colonel 1st Regiment Dragoons.
General William Clark,
Superintendent of Indian Affairs, St. Louis."
"Fort Leavenworth, November 11, 1837.
"I have the honor to inform you that, in compliance with
your order of the 21st July, 1837, dated at Forth Leavenworth,
I took a position in the Pottawattamie Country, with my Com-
pany ' C ', 1st Dragroons, at a point near Belle- View, on the east
side of the Missouri river, at which place I erected a Blockhouse
for the defense of the Pottawattamies while they are moving to
their new land. I arrived there on the 4th of August and re-
mained until the 1st of November, 1837, when I broke camp and
marched to this post in pursuance of your order.
D. B. Moore,
Captain 1st Regiment Dragoons.
Colonel S. W. Kearny,
Commanding 1st Regiment Dragoons."
The foregoing shows conclusively that a blockhouse about 25 feet
square, was constructed, in 1837, in the vicinity of the site of the
present city of Council Bluffs. It has been found impossible to secure
equally as positive proof that the blockhouse then erected and the
''Old Blockhouse at Council Bluffs", the "Old Fort" that Colonel
Kearny gave to De Smet in 1838, are identical. But, in absence of
any indication either through hearsay, legend or tradition, that any
other blockhouse was ever known to exist in that neighborhood, and
taking all circumstances into consideration, little room for doubt in
that regard may be reasonably entertained.
Papers on file in the Indian Office at Washington relating to the
emigration of the Pottawattamies, reproduced in connection with
that portion of this booklet entitled "Pottawattamie Indians", prove
that General Atkinson, commanding the First Department of the
Western Division of the Army, personally superintended the removal
of a part of the tribe or nation from the ' ' Platte Purchase ' ' ; that
he arrived with them on board of the steamboat "Kansas" July 28,
1837, and landed them at a point on the east (left) bank of the Missouri
river, about eighteen miles above the mouth of the Platte river and
there turned them over to the proper agent; that one week later
54 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
Captain Moore arrived for the purpose of protecting them from
Northern foes, and erected a blockhouse for that purpose, it may
be presumed that he located it at a convenient place; the fact that
Billy Caldwell, one of the principal Pottawattamie chiefs, located his
village precisely upon the spot where the original town from which
Council Bluffs developed became situated, and that a blockhouse
actually existed at that place, would appear to be strong circum-
stantial evidence in support of the presumption that it was the one
built by Captain Moore.
In the four- volume book entitled "Life, Letters and Travels of
Father Pierre-Jean De Smet, S. J., 1808-1873, by Hiram Martin
Chittenden and Alfred Talbot Richardson", on pages 14 to 16 of
Volume I, is found the following:
"In the Spring of 1838 he (De Smet) was sent with Father
Verrydt and two lay brothers to found a mission among the
Pottawattamies, a part of whom were located about where the
city of Council Bluffs, Iowa, now stands. . . . Father
De Smet left St. Louis by the steamboat Howard May 10, 1838.
. . . They seem to have first occupied an abandoned fort
turned over to them by Colonel S. W. Kearney; but Father
De Smet says that they also erected a small house. The mission
was named St. Joseph, although it has been more frequently
referred to as St. Mary. It was located within the present
limits of Council Bluffs, Iowa. . . . The Pottawattamie
mission at Council Bluffs is of particular interest in this narra-
tive, not so much for results accomplished, as because it reveals
at this early date the full character of Father De Smet as an
Indian missionary. It was from here that he began that famous
series of letters which have made his name well known through-
out the world.
In one of the first of these letters, written in July, 1838, Father
De Smet said:
"We arrived among the Pottawattamies on the afternoon of
May 31st. Nearly 2,000 savages, in their finest rigs and care-
fully painted in all sorts of patterns, were awaiting the boat
at the landing. I had not seen so imposing a sight nor such
fine looking Indians in America; the lowas, the Sauks and
Otocs arc beggars compared to these. Father Verreydt and
brother Maxell i went at onc(^ to the camj) of the half breed
chief, Mr. Caldwell, four miles from the river (page 157.)
THE OLD BLOCKHOUSE 55
"The chief has given us possession of three cabins, and we
have changed the fort which Colonel Kearney has given us into
a church. On the day of Corpus Christi I put a cross on the
roof, and while I climbed the ladder to put it into place, and
my flag floated from a hole in my breeches, Father Felix
(Verreydt) beheld the devil clap his tail between his legs and
take flight over the big hills." (Page 158.)
In a letter dated at the "Nation of the Pottawattamies, July 20,
1838," Father De Smet said:
"We have a fine little chapel, twenty-four feet square, sur-
mounted by a little belfry ; four poor little cabins beside, made
of rough logs; they are fourteen feet each way, with roofs of
rude rafters, which protect us from neither rain nor hail, and
still less from snow of winter." (Page 168.)
In the spring of 1839 De Smet visited the Sioux Indians near the
mouth of the Big Sioux river, in an effort to preserve peace between
them and the Pottawattamies, and, on the steamboat he met Mr.
Nicollet. His account of the meeting is summarized as follows :
"On the 29th of April I went on board the American Com-
pany's steamboat, which makes every year the voyage from
St. Louis to the Yellowstone river. ... To my great joy
I found on board the celebrated Nicollet, whom I had had the
honor of knowing for a long time. ... At present he is
making a scientific excursion upon the upper Missouri, as he
did last year to the sources of the Mississippi and its tribu-
taries. . . . He made me a present of several instruments,
thermometers, barometers, compass, etc., to take observations
during the summer, to aid those he was making in the upper
country. (Pages 179-80.)
On pages 183 and 184 is printed a letter from Father De Smet,
under date "Pottawattamie Nation, St. Joseph (Mission), July
1838", but in a foot note the authors say the year should be 1839.
The following extract is made from that letter, viz. :
"Our Superior sent us from St, Louis, goods to the amount
of $500, in ornaments for the church, a tabernacle, a bell, and
provisions and clothes for a year. I had been for a long time
without shoes, and from Easter we were destitute of supplies.
All of the Pottawattamie nation were suffering from scarcity,
having only acorns and a few wild roots for their whole stock
of food. At last, about the 20th of April, they announced to
56 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
US that the much-desired boat was approaching. Already we
saw it from the highest of our hills. I procured, without delay,
two carts to go for our baggage. I reached there in time to
witness a very sad sight. The vessel had hit a sawyer, was
pierced, and rapidly sinking in the waves. The confusion that
reigned in the boat was great, but happily no lives were lost.
The total damage was valued at $40,000. All the provisions
forwarded by the government to the savages were on board
of her. Of our effects, four articles were saved; a plough, a
saw, a pair of boots and some wine. Providence was still favor-
able to us. With the help of the plough, we were enabled to
plant a large field of corn ; it was the season for furrowing.
We used the saw to build a better house and enlarge our
church, already too small."
A thorough search of official reports and various other sources has
failed to discover any account, other than the above, of the wrecking
of a steamboat at or near the site indicated.
Father De Smet's service at this mission ceased in the fall of 1839,
when he was transferred to the far Northwest. On his return to the
eastern country, late in 1840, he visited the old place, arriving about
November 24th. Of that visit he says :
' ' The very night of our arrival among our Fathers at Council
Bluffs, the river closed. It would be vain for me to attempt
to tell what I felt at finding myself once more amidst our
brothers, after having travelled 2,000 Flemish leagues, in the
midst of the greatest dangers and across the territories of the
most barbarous nations. I had, however, the grief of observing
the ravages which unprincipled men, liquor sellers, had caused
in this budding mission ; drunkenness, with the invasion of the
Sioux on the other hand, had finally dispersed my poor savages.
While awaiting a more favorable turn of events, the good
Fathers Verreydt and (Christian) Hoeken busy themselves
with the cares of their holy ministry among the fifty families
that have had the courage to resist these two enemies." (Page
The writer, wishing to ascertain if possible up to what period the
mission at Council Bluff's was maintained, and, findng no authentic
evidence in that respect, addressed a letter of inquiry to the St. Louis
University regarding the abandonment and final closing of the St.
Joseph or St. Mary Mission among the Pottawattaraies, to which reply
was received, as follows:
THE OLD BLOCKHOUSE 57
"Mo. Prov. S. J., St. Louis, May 16, 1916.
''Mr. Chas. H. Babbitt,
Washington, D. C.
"In answer to your inquiry relative to the Jesuit Pottawat-
tamie Mission at Council Bluffs, I am able to inform you that
the last resident missionary departed from the place in July
or Au^st, 1841. The last entry in the baptismal register of
the mission, bears date July 17, 1841.
I am very" sincerely yours,
G. J. Garraghan, S. J."
The "Old Fort" or "Mission House", with other buildings used
for mission purposes, stood upon the West half of the Southwest
quarter of Section 30, Township 75 North, of Range 43 West, Fifth
Principal Meridian; and, upon its inclusion in the application for
entry of the townsite of Council Bluffs, that tract became a bone of
contention between Mrs. S. T. Carey and the Catholic Church. In
the record of evidence relating to the long-drawn-out controversy
that ensued (Case No. 139, Pottawattamie file. No. 40-L) before the
Indian Office and Land Department, is an affidavit made by Stutely
E. Wicks, wherein he alleged :
" ... That, about the year 1837 two Catholic priests,
named Veright and De Smith, took possession of the buildings
and a small field adjacent thereto and continued to occupy the
same until some time in 1842. . . ."
It will be observed that Mr. Wicks was mistaken, both as to the date
when the mission was established and when it was abandoned.
The foregoing sets out all that the writer has been able to discover,
relating to the "Old Blockhouse at Council Bluffs", by a most
thorough search of governmental records and examination of numer-
ous other sources of information ; together with some things, true and
otherwise, that have been written and published, as well as the memory
pictures of the establishment retained by himself and others still living
who saw it at an early day.
It would appear, from the record evidence, conclusive and con-
vincing in character, that all that ever existed of the "Old Fort"
was the simple little blockhouse, twenty-four feet square, erected by
Captain D. B. Moore in 1837. That the "Old Mission" consisted of
that building, to which addition was made by the missionaries in
1839 : the little cabins given to the Fathers bv Chief Billv Caldwell in
58 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
1838, and the house erected by the missionaries at the same time that
enlargement of the church was made, as described by Father De Smet.
The illustration which accompanied the article of Mr. Bloomer, in
Annals of Iowa, later used in Gue's History of Iowa, is reproduced
herein to the end that the reader may more readily understand the
comment of the writer in relation thereto.
From personal observation, almost daily, for a period of fully
twenty years, the writer knows, of his own knowledge, that there was
never a road up the nose of the promontory upon which the old build-
ing stood. He believes that it would have been impossible to construct
there such a road as that depicted in the illustration and still have
left on the little plateau at the top sufficient space for such buildings
as there portrayed. Even had the construction of such roadway been
practicable, there would have been no necessity for so doing, because
the plateau was easily accessible from both east and west by gentle
inclines having ample space for roadways. See supposititious picture
of the old blockhouse, showing topography as remembered by the
Captain Moore's command consisted of only sixty-six persons; it
arrived at the Pottawattamie country August 4, and departed thence
November 1, 1837. Such force could not, within such period, have
constructed such works as Mr. Simons' memory or imagination de-
picted when he made the drawing that was used in preparing the
It would be folly to discuss or attempt to explain the differences
between the several memory pictures of the "Old Fort" as set out
by persons who have been heard, and the facts as disclosed by official
records and other evidence. It is deemed sufficient to say that,
memory, especially that extending back to childhood days, is fre-
quently at fault — "distance lends enchantment to the view" — and one
relying merely upon memory will find, upon investigation, that she
is frequently an unfaithful painter who magnifies, softens and gilds
the images which she presents, misleading the individual as to facts
and appearances with which one may for years have believed oneself
thoroughly fjimiliar. "Things arc not what they seem."
THE OLD BLOCKHOUSE
60 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
THE OLD BLOCKHOUSE.
By this picture attempt is made to depict the old blockhouse as it
probably appeared when completed by Captain D. B. Moore in 1837,
together with the blunt nose of bluff whereon it stood. No portholes
are shown because there was no reason why any should have been
originally provided. United States troops did not ordinarily employ
cannon in the control of the Indians at that early day, and it is not
probable that the same were furnished the Pottawattamies for their
protection. The building was a simple hewn-log structure, twenty-
four feet square, without openings on the north and west sides except
loopholes for small-arms fire. After it came into the possession of
the Jesuit missionaries small windows were cut in those sides which
were afterward taken by some to have been portholes for cannon fire.
The folly of such belief is apparent upon consideration of the size and
character of the building, and what would probably have happened
to the occupants had a large gun been fired from the inside. No
frontier blockhouse, even at the largest of the government military
posts, appears to have been constructed with a view to firing cannon
from within. When cannon were provided for such posts they were
usually mounted outside the buildings in bastions especially designed
for the purpose.
May 31, 1842, Captain John H. K. Burgwin, under orders from the
War Department established a military cantonment, for the protection
of the Pottawattamie Indians against threatened attack by the Sioux,
the garrison consisting of one company of dragoons.
July 1, 1842, the Captain reported to the Adjutant General of the
Army, from "Camp Fenwick, on the Missouri river near Council
Bluffs", that he had established encampment as above set forth.
October 7, 1842, in connection with report as to condition of his
command and post. Captain Burgwin suggested the substitution of
the name ' ' Fort Croghan ' ' for the station in lieu of ' ' Camp Fenwick. ' '
November 8, 1842, Brigadier General R. Jones, Adjutant General,
approved the suggestion of Captain Burgwin, and thereafter the
cantonment was known as "Fort Croghan", being so indicated on a
map published by the War Department in 1843' in connection with the
report of the explorations made by J. N. Nicollet and Lieutenant John
C. Fremont, 1838-9.
When it became definitely determined, against earnest protest by
Captain Burgwin, that the post should be maintained during the
ensuing winter, due preparation was made by the erection of log
quarters for the officers and men and suitable protection for the
animals; the tents theretofore used were stored, and the cantonment
assumed a more permanent appearance.
April 17, 1843, from "Fort Croghan, I. T." Captain Burgwin
reported the greatest rise in the Missouri river known within seven-
teen years; that his camp was threatened by the flood and he had
prepared for removal "to the Bluffs, which are about six miles from
August 15, 1843, still using the "Fort Croghan" heading, the
Captain reported the original camp yet surrounded by water ; that it
would probably not be fit for future use ; that troops were no longer
needed in the locality, and requested relief from further duty there.
His request was granted and the command returned to Fort Leaven-
worth, from which place the Captain submitted report, dated October
13, 1843, saying that his command had just arrived and that Fort
Croghan was abandoned on the 6th of that month.
The foregoing brief sketch of "Fort Croghan" is compiled from
62 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
unpublished orders, reports and letters in the files of the office of the
Adjutant General, War Department, Washington. The use of the
date line ''Fort Croghan, I. T." by Captain Burgwin clearly fixes
the site of the cantonment on the east (left) bank of the Missouri
river. In his "American Fur Trade of the Far West" (Vol. 3, page
950), General Hiram Martin Chittenden says that: "Fort Croghan
stood a little above the Union Pacific bridge in Omaha;" but he is
mistaken, as Captain Burgwin's report dated April 17, 1843, clearly
The fact that Captain Burgwin continued to use the headline ' ' Fort
Croghan" after the removal of the command to the highlands, in-
dicates that the name applied to the territory under his jurisdiction
rather than to the cantonment itself or to its precise site.
The precise plot of ground upon which the original location of
"Camp Fenwick" and "Fort Croghan" was made, or whether the
log structures of 1843 were erected upon that identical spot, is not
known and may never be positively determined ; nor is there attainable
evidence to show conclusively to what place Captain Burgwin re-
ferred when he reported:
"I commenced yesterday morning moving the public prop-
erty to the Bluffs which are about six miles from me" —
the point to which the troops removed and took position that was
maintained during the remainder of their stay in the vicinity. No
records exist containing specific descriptions of these sites or either
Probably the most circumstantial reference to and description of
the two points occupied by Captain Burgwin as "Fort Croghan" here-
tofore published, is contained in an article that appeared in the
Annals of Iowa (3d Series, Volume 3, page 471), which is here re-
produced in full, viz. :
"P^'oRT Croghan. — In April, 1842, while the Pottawattamie
Indians were located in what is now the eastern part of Potta-
wattamie County, it was thought necessary to send up the
Missouri river a detachment of troops for their protection.
Captain John II. K. Burj^'win therefore arrived on a steamer
from Fort Leavenwortii, with a company of United States
troops, and established a post on the edge of the timber at
Section 10, near the present southwest corner of the city of
Council Bluffs. Tliis he first named 'Camp Fenwick', but
FORT CROGHAN 63
afterwards changed it to 'Fort Croghan'. There has been
some dispute about the location, but 'there is certain evidence',
says Hon. D. C. Bloomer, 'that it stood as mentioned'. The
troops staid there during the remainder of 1842, and until the
spring of 1843, when a great flood covered the Missouri
Bottoms compelling the command to remove to a temporary
location on the western side of Little Mosquito Creek, on the
high grounds later occupied by Mr. J. P. Casady for farming
purposes. Here they remained until the water, which covered
the valley, subsided, when they returned to the fort. In Sep-
tember, following, the presence of the troops being no longer
necessary for the protection of the Indians, the company, still
under the command of Capt. Burgwin, returned to Ft. Leaven-
worth, and 'Fort Croghan' was abandoned, never again to
be occupied. For the above information we are indebted to
Hon. D. C. Bloomer, of Council Bluffs."
As stated elsewhere in this work the writer resided at Council
Bluffs from 1853 to 1874, and was very familiar with the surrounding
country, having gunned for ducks, prairie chickens, turkeys and
other game, pretty much all "round about there", and, upon reading
the foregoing article, a few months ago, he was surprised by some of
the statements therein contained ; doubted that the original encamp-
ment of Captain Burgwin was located upon "Section 10" and knew
that J. P. Casady 's farm was not near the Little Mosquito creek, but
on Pony creek, some three miles south and one mile east of the mouth
of the Little Mosquito. So, contemplating the writing of this paper,
he began investigating.
Mr. Edgar R. Harlan, Curator of the Historical Department of
Iowa, at Des Moines, under the direction of whom Annals of Iowa is
now published, has furnished copies of letters sent to Hon. Charles
Aldrich, founder of the Historical Department of Iowa, by Mr.
Bloomer, including that "certain evidence" referred to in the article
quoted above. There are two letters from Mr. Bloomer dated, re-
spectively, November 24 and 25, 1896, the latter being in correction
of a clerical error in and elaborative of the former. Both are here
quoted to the end that the entire matter may be fairly placed before
it'll P T*PflHPT**
"Council Bluffs, Iowa, Nov. 24, 1896.
"Hon. Charles Aldrich,
Des Moines, Iowa.
"I return the correspondence relative to Fort Croghan and
its occupancy by U. S. troops in 1842-3.
64 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
"The question as to the actual location of Camp Fenwick,
changed to Fort Croghan, has elicited a good deal of contro-
versy among the people in this section. I have spent a good deal
of time and made some journeys in order to settle it in my own
mind. Some claim that it was on the west side of the river,
up in the \'icinity of Old Fort Atkinson, later known as Fort
Calhoun. Others claim that it was on the east side of the
river, on the wide bottom, a few miles south of the present
site of the modern Council Bluffs. My great object was to find
some one who then resided here, and who could from personal
recollections settle the question. And such a person I have at
last found in Mr. Richard S. Hardin, an old gentleman, son of
Indian agent Hardin, who came here with the Pottawattamie
Indians in 1838, and who now resides at Nodaway Station in
Missouri. In a letter written to me on the 21st of November,
1896, he says:
' ' ' The old Fort you wish to know about was built in '42, and
vacated in the spring of '43, on account of high water. It was
northwest of my old farm 3^ of a mile, in the edge of the
timber on the bottom. When they left it they stuck their tents
in the hollow near where Judge Casady 's house stands. If there
is anything I can give you light on, let me know. I think I
will be in Council Bluffs in the spring, and if you will get a
reporter, I will answer any questions you may wish to ask, as
I think I am the only man living now that can'.
"This statement is reliable and reallj^ settles the question.
It corresponds perfectly with the letter of Capt. Burgwin, '43,
page 6, in which he stated that his cantonment 'was flooded
and that he had commenced removing the public property to
the Bluffs, which are about six miles from me'. True, his first
letter was written from 'Camp Fenwick near Council Bluffs'
evidently referring to the Council Bluffs of the olden time,
but that point was less than twenty miles distant, and was the
name then applied to all this immediate region. I may add that
A. I). Jones, now of Omaha, who in early days resided in
Council Bluffs and made the first survey of the town in 1852,
insists that 'Camp Fenwick — Fort Croghan' was on the east
side of the river not far from the southwest corner of the
present corporate limits of the city of Council Bluffs. It was
very near, almost the middle of, the then home of the Potta-
wattamies — the very Indians Captain Burgwin was sent here
to protect, although as it turned out, no protection was required.
"This Fort Croghan had no connection in any way with the
military buildings, the 'Old Block House in Council Bluff's' at
or near the Bryant Springs. That had been built by U. S.
troops in 1839. They seem to have left and Capt. Burgwin's
Company was probably sent to take their place. Instead, how-
FORT CROGHAN 65
ever, of going to the old site, they camped on the bottom near
the timber, three or four miles distant in a southwesterly direc-
tion from it. Possibly, when I have the interview with Mr.
Hardin, this point will also be explained more fully.
T>. C. Bloomer."
"Council Bluffs, Nov. 25, 1896.
"Mr. Charles Aldrich.
' ' Dear Sir : Referring to my letter of yesterday in relation
to the location of Camp Fenwick — Fort Croghan, I would state
that I have just received a letter from Mr. Hardin in which
he states that the fort instead of being 3 and 14 miles northwest
from his old farm, that it was only % of a mile from it. I
suspected that this was the fact, and this correction enables us
to exactly locate the spot. Mr. Hardin's old farm was in the
Ei/s of the SE14 of Section 15-74-44, and % of a mile from it
takes us to the £1/2 of Section 10 in the same township and
range, and through about the center of this section the line of
timber passed. That was the identical spot where the old fort
stood. And now I remember that when I first came to the
county 41 years ago, there was right there the remains of
buildings of some kind, erected in former years. It turns out
now that they had been erected by the XJ. S. troops under
Capt. Burgwin in the first instance, and perhaps reconstructed
by the Mormons.
Yours very truly,
D. C. Bloomer.
"P. S. — I enclose plat of Tp. 74-44, which shows the loca-
In that portion of this work relating to the Pottawattamie Indians
it is clearly shown that they arrived at or near the present site of
the city of Council Bluffs July 28, 1837 ; that the blockhouse was built
at that time; that Davis Hardin (father of R, S. Hardin) was not
agent for those Indians; that the farm entered by R. S. Hardin in
1854, — undoubtedly the place mentioned by him as * * my old farm ' ', —
consisted of Lot 1 (W1/2SW1/4) Sec. 14, and E1/2SE14 Sec. 15, in the
township indicated by Mr. Bloomer. On this tract the plat of the
United States survey made in 1852 shows three houses, of which two
are on the lot 4. It was in one of the latter, according to the writer's
recollection, wherein Mr. Hardin resided, about one mile from the old
steamboat landing as indicated by the plat of survey.
66 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
On the SI/2NE14 Sec. 15 of said township appears the village of
''Council Point", immediately north of and contiguous to the western
part of the Hardin farm, and almost exactly three-quarters of a mile
from R. S. Hardin's dwelling. In the belief of the writer the site of
Council Point, Camp Fenwick or Fort Croghan, was identical. The
place was probably renamed because of the fact that it was there that
the Pottawattamie Indians of the Iowa region met the Commissioners
of the United States June 5, 1846, and signed the treaty ceding their
lands, which had actually been negotiated at Washington between
the head men of the nation and government officials at a time previous.
The buildings erected by Captain Burgwin 's command in 1842 afforded
facilities for such transaction not existing at any other place near by.
It is impossible to secure conclusive evidence to support these as-
sumptions; but they do no violence to Mr. Hardin's testimony as
furnished by Mr. Bloomer. No point in section ten, Mr. Bloomer's
location of Camp Fenwick, could have been reached by traveling only
three-quarters of a mile northwest from Mr. Hardin's farm house.
The plat of government survey shows only one house on Section 10,
and none other is mentioned in the field notes of the survey as being
on said section.
When the Mormons reached that locality, June, 1846, they found
the little village of Council Point already named, and it was there
that their High Council was organized Julj^ 21, by which was accepted
the name ' ' Miller 's Hollow ' ' that had attached to the settlement made
by the Saints on the site of the present city of Council Bluffs.
Mr. A. D. Jones, who resided at Council Bluffs for some time after
the advent of the writer in that vicinity and was well known to him,
has been quoted as supporting the claim that Fort Croghan was near
the original site mentioned in the article quoted from Annals of Iowa ;
it being said that he made a survey of the city in 1852, and is therefore
an authority. If he made survey of any part of the city his work
was private and not public in character. In a letter dated May 9, 1916,
the Council Bluffs City Engineer says:
"There is no evidence in my office to indicate that a survey
of the town was made by A. D. Jones prior to the survey made
by Tostcvin". (1854.)
Judgo (J. P.) Casady never owned, resided upon or cultivated any
farm near the site mentioned in the quoted article other than that
FORT CROGHAN 67
embracing the SEi^SEii Sec. 9; SWI/4SW14, E1/2SW14 Sec. 10;
NEi^NWii, WVsNWi^ Sec. 15, and EVgNEi^ Sec. 16, T. 74 N.,
R. 43 W. Six miles due east and across Mosquito creek from the Ft.
Croghan site mentioned in the quoted article, and about two miles
back of the first bluffs skirting the Missouri river bottom. In 1843
that would have been an inaccessible and undesirable site for a military-
encampment dependent upon steamboat transportation for its supplies.
The boat landing was more than five miles, air line, from such site,
and no practicable route between the points could have been less than
eight miles. Mr. Hardin could not have intended to designate the
Casady farm as the site where the troops "stuck their tents".
Judge Casady owned and resided for some years in a house in
Council Bluffs, near the mouth of what was known in early days as
"Duck Hollow", only a short distance from the "Old Block House",
It was one of the most prominent houses of that time in the city. Just
to the east of it, and immediately north from the old blockhouse, was
a broad, almost level plateau, an ideal spot for a military camp such
as required by Captain Burgwin's command, and, notwithstanding
Mr. Bloomer's positive assertion that the blockhouse and Fort Croghan
had "no connection in any way", it very convincingly appears from
unpublished letters of the Pottawattamie sub-agent, written in 1842
and 1843, that the dragoons at that time used the blockhouse for
storage purposes. (See Mr. Elliott's letter of June 1, 1843, quoted
in connection with "Pottawattamie Indians" and "Old Blockhouse",
elsewhere in this work.)
It is the belief of the writer that Captain Burgwin and his men,
when forced to retire from the bottom, made their encampment upon
the plateau described in the preceding paragraph, and that it was the
site referred to in the language quoted in Mr. Bloomer's letter to Mr.
"When they left it they stuck their tents in the hollow near
where Judge Casady 's house stands".
This opinion is corroborated by an unpublished letter from Sub- Agent
Elliott, dated June 1, 1843, quoted in the article herein relating to
"The Old Blockhouse". True, this site was about five miles from
the boat landing, but it was connected therewith by the best and
probably only real road in the vicinity at the time, and was at the
site of the Caldwell village, then existing, and of the De Smet mission
68 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
abandoned about two years before. Captain Burgwin who had been
acting ad interim Sub-Agent for the Pottawattamies, appears to have
turned over the agency effects to Sub-Agent Elliott at that point
June 1, 1843.
Captain Burgwin evidently overestimated the distance between Fort
Croghan and the bluffs, as there is no point in the Missouri river
bottom, above the boat landing as indicated by government survey, in
that vicinity where the air-line distance between river and bluffs is
six miles. The early settlers made the same error, calling it six miles
from Kanesville to the boat landing, whereas it is little more than four
There is no intention to impugn Mr. Bloomer's good faith, nor to
question his veracity, bj^ what has been said here ; but simply to differ
from some of his inferences, assumptions and conclusions, and to in-
dicate the reasons for such differences. The writer knew Mr. Bloomer
well and knows him to have been a conscientious man, but doubts the
correctness of his findings upon the evidence considered by him, taken
in connection with his knowledge of the locality and the subjects of
which he was writing.
On whatever particular sites the "Camp Fenwick" and "Fort
Croghan" of Captain Burgwin may have stood, in the vicinity of
Council Bluffs, there is ample evidence that neither was in the imme-
diate vicinity of the Council Bluff of Lewis and Clark, nor in any
manner connected with Fort Atkinson which was located near the
latter. It has been said that there was once a "Fort Croghan" on
or near the site of the latter place ; but there appears to be no record
evidence to sustain such allegation. Mr. A. D. Jones, at the time
Secretary of the Old Settlers' Association of Omaha, addressed a
letter of inquiry to Father De Smet, containing several interrogations,
to which the eminent missionary, writing from "St. Louis University,
December 26, 1867", made separate replies, in part as follows:
"To the best of my knowledge, and assisted by Captain
Joseph La Barge, the old explorer of the Missouri river, I will
here answer your various questions:
"First, 'Where was old Fort Calhoun located?'
"Fort Calhoun was never located; it took the name of Fort
Atkinson, which wjus built on the very spot where the council
was h(!ld by L(;wis and ('lark, and was the higliest and first
military post above the mouth of the Nebraska (Platte) river.
"Second, 'Where was old Fort Croghan?'
FORT CROGIIAN 69
"After the evacuation of Fort Atkinson or Calhoun, either
in 1827 or 1828, or thereabouts, the troops came down and
made winter quarters on Cow Island — Captain La Barge states
it was called Camp Croghan. The next spring the flood dis-
turbed the soldiers and they came down and established Fort
Leavenworth. Colonel Leavenworth was commandant at the
breaking up of Fort Atkinson. (See pages 1533-34-35, Chit-
tenden and Richardson's Life, Letters and Travels of Father
De Smet, Volume 4, where the letter above quoted is credited
to Nebraska Historical Society's Report.)
"Third, 'There is an earthen remain of fortifications on the
east bank of Omaha ; do you know who built it ? '
"The remains alluded to must be the site of the old trading
post of Mr. Heart. When it was in existence the Missouri river
ran up to the trading post. In 1832 the river left it, and since
that time it goes by the name of 'Heart's Cut-Off', leaving a
large lake above Council Bluffs city."
Assuming this last information to be correct, a starting point is
established from which, with other existing evidence, a fairly good
inference may be derived respecting the location to w^hich Captain
Burgwin removed the government property and his command upon
the occasion of the flood in the spring of 1843.
The log of the steamboat "Omega", on a voyage made in 1843, con-
tains the following entries :
' ' May 9, Tuesday. Passed Trudeau Island, Five Barrels Island,
la Calumet, L'Oeil de fer. . . . Went on to L 'Issue,
where I put off freight for the sutler and for Captain Burg-
win. Set out at 7 P. M. and camped above the bad sandbar,
near the marsh at Hart's cut-off at 9 P. M.
"May 10, Wednesday. We progressed finely as far as Hart's
Bluffs (cotes a Hart), where at 7 A. M., we were summoned
by an officer and four dragoons to land. I received a polite
note from Captain Burgwin informing me that it was his
duty to make an inspection of the boat. We put ourselves
to work immediately^ while Mr. Audubon goes to call upon
the Captain. They return in about two hours. . . ."
(See Chittenden's American Fur Trade of the Far West,
Vol. 3, page 988; also Chittenden's History of Early Navi-
gation on the Missouri river. Life and Adventures of Joseph
La Barge, Vol. 1, pages 143-144.)
The following extract is from the work last mentioned, and is a part
of a very circumstantial account of the inspection of the boat, viz. :
70 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
* * On the occasion of the voyage of 1843 the agent at Bellevue
happened to be absent from his station when the boat arrived.
Elated at this unexpected good fortune, Captain Sire lost no
time in putting off the freight destined for this point and in
getting on his way. He pursued his voyage until nine o'clock
that evening, and doubtless felicitated himself that he was out
of danger. But it appears that the agent had delegated the
function of inspector during his absence to the commander of
the United States troops in the vicinity. The boat left her
mooring at daylight next morning, but had scarcely gotten
under way when a couple of rifle shots were fired across her
bow. She brought to at once and made for the shore. There
Captain Sire found a lieutenant in charge of a few dragoons,
who had come from his camp four miles distant. The young
officer came on board and presented to Captain Sire a polite
note from Captain Burgwin, commander of the camp, stating
that his orders required him to inspect the boat before letting
' ' This was like a dash of cold water to the buoyant spirits of
Captain Sire, and none the less so to Audubon, to whom, as well
as the company, the loss of the liquid portion of the cargo
would have been irreparable. The naturalist had a permit
from the government to carry with him a quantity of liquor
for the use of himself and party, and upon showing his cre-
dentials to the young officer he was, to use his own words, 'im-
mediately settled comfortably '. But in the moment of his good
fortune he did not forget his companions who were not yet
'settled comfortably'. He understood that time was required
to prepare for the approaching function, and he could at least
help to secure this time by delaying inspection as long as
possible. He accordingly expressed a desire to visit the camp,
and the lieutenant detailed a dragoon to accompany him. The
great naturalist rode /owr miles to call upon an obscure army
officer whom he knew he could see in a short time by waiting
at the boat. . . . "
The Audubon referred to in the foregoing excerpts was the well-
known and justly celebrated naturalist John James Audubon, and
his own story of this occurrence, more interesting for the evidence and
information it contains than because of the importance of the trans-
action above mentioned, is as follows :
"May 9, Tuesday. Another fine day. After running until
eleven o'clock we stopped to cut wood. . . . This afternoon
we reached B<dk>vue where resides the brother of Mr. Sarpy
of St. Louis, as well as the Indian Agent, or as he might be
more appropriately called, the Custom House officer. Neither
were at home, both away on the Platte river, about 300 miles
FORT CROGHAN 71
off. . . . We landed some cargo for the establishment.
. . . The store is no great affair, and yet I am told that they
drive a good trade with the Indians on the Platte river, and
others on this side of the Missouri. We unloaded some freight
and pushed off. . . . We soon reached the post of Fort
Croghan, so called after my old friend of that name with whom
I hunted Raccoons on his father's plantation in Kentucky some
thirty-eight years ago, and whose father and mine were well
acquainted, and fought together in conjunction with Washing-
ton and Lafayette during the Revolutionary War, against
'Merrie England'. Here we found only a few soldiers, dra-
goons; their camp and officers having been forced to move
across the prairie to the bluffs, five miles. After we had put
out some freight for the sutler, we proceeded on until we
stopped for the night a few miles above, on the same side of
the river. The soldiers assured us that their parade ground and
so-called barracks, had been four feet under water, and we
saw fair and sufficient evidence of this. . . . We landed
for the night under trees covered by muddy deposits from the
great overflow of this season. I slept soundly, and have this
morning. May 10, written this.
''May 10, Wednesday. The morning was fine, and we were
under way at daylight, but a party of dragoons, headed by a
lieutenant, had left the camp four miles distcmt from our
anchorage at the same time, and reached the shore before we
proceeded far; they fired a couple of shots ahead of us, and
we brought to at once. The young officer came on board, and
presented a letter from his commander. Captain Burgwin, from
which we found that we had to have our cargo examined. Our
captain was glad of it, and so were we all ; for, finding that it
would take several hours, we at once made ready to go ashore.
I showed my credentials and orders from the Government,
Major Mitchell of St. Louis, etc., and I was therefore imme-
diately settled comfortably. I desired to go to see the com-
manding officer, and the lieutenant very politely sent us there
on horseback, guided by an old dragoon of considerable re-
spectability. I was mounted on a young white horse, Spanish
saddle with holsters, and we proceeded across the prairie to-
wards the Bluffs and the camp. My guide was anxious to take
a short cut, and took me across several bayous, one of which
was really up to the saddle ; but we crossed that, and coming to
another we found it so miry, that his horse wheeled after two
or three steps, whilst I was looking at him before starting
myself ; for you all well know that an old traveler is, and must
be prudent. We had now to retrace our steps till we reached
the very tracks that the squad sent after us in the morning had
taken, and at last we reached the foot of the Bluffs, when my
72 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
guide asked me if I 'could ride at a gallop', to which not
answering him, but starting at once at a round run, I neatly
passed him ere his horse was well at the pace ; on we went, and
in a few minutes we entered a beautiful dell or valley, and
were in sight of the encampment. We reached this in a trice,
and rode between two lines of pitched tents to one at the end,
where I dismounted, and met Captain Burgwin, a young man
brought up at West Point, with whom I was on excellent and
friendly terms in less time than it has taken me to write this
account of our meeting. I showed him my credentials, at
which he smiled, and politely assured me that I was too well
known throughout the country to need any letters. While
seated in front of his tent, I heard the note of a bird new to me,
and as it proceeded from a tree above our heads, I looked up
and saw the first Yellow-headed Troupial that ever came across
my own migrations. . . . The Captain and the doctor,
Madison by name, returned with us to the boat. . . . The
officers came on board and we treated them as hospitably as
we could; they ate lunch with us, and are themselves almost
destitute of provisions. . . . The Sioux Indians are great
enemies to the Pottawattamies, and very frequently kill several
of the latter in their predatory excursions against them. This
kind of warfare has rendered the Pottawattamies very cowardly,
which Ls quite a remarkable change from their previous valor
and daring. . . . We left our anchorage (which means
tied to the shore) at twelve o'clock, and about sunset we did
pass the real Council Bluff. Here, however, the bed of the
river is utterly changed, you may yet see that which is called
the Old Missouri. The Bluffs stand, truly speaking, on a
beautiful bank about forty feet above the waters and run off
on a rich prairie, to the hills in the background to a gentle
slope, that renders the whole place a fine and very remarkable
spot. . . ." (See Audubon and His Journals, by Maria R.
Audubon, with Zoological and Other Notes, by Elliott Coues,
Volume 1, pages 477 to 482.)
At the time referred to in the foregoing extracts, from the lower
end (or mouth) of the then known "Hart's Cut-off"; that is from
the western end of the lake formed by that change in location, the
Missouri river flowed in a northwesterly and westerly course through
"Cutoff Lake", shown upon recent maps, thence southerly, about as
is now does, near the foot of the bluff where stands the city of Omaha,
except that at about the site of Soutli Omaha it bore further west,
sweeping against the bluff; thence, by a broad curve, southward and
ea.sterly, and then Ix^aiing to the north and east, it ^Kissed on the
FORT CROGHAN 73
eastern side of the Hardin farm and village of Council Point ; thence,
through what is now "Lake Manawa", turning to the east and south,
bore southwesterly beyond Trader's Point (Point aux Poulos). So,
the Hardin farm and Council Point were within what was locally
known later as the "Big Bend". The distance between Bellevue and
Hart's Bluffs, by the course of the river, was much greater in 1843
Beginning on the river bank about a mile south and west from
the Hardin farm, a large marsh, with many lateral branches, extended
up the river to the shore of the lake formed by Hart's Cut-Off. Its
width varied from one-half to one and one-half miles, and covered
nearly all of the surface, though there was exposed a high point in
the angle between the river and the lake where now is ' ' East Omaha ' '
or "West End", — the name depending upon whether one is in Omaha
or Council Bluffs. This was the marsh referred to in the "Omega"
log. The location of the "bad sandbar" near this marsh is not deter-
minable; Missouri river sandbars are not stable land marks. It is
probable that it was not far from Hardin's, possibly near the site of
South Omaha. Wlien the writer arrived at Council Bluffs, in 1853,
the swamp still existed in diminished area and some of it may be
there yet. For many years thereafter — surely up to 1870 — portions
of it were known to Council Bluffs sportsmen as "Grassy Slough"
and "Smith's Lake".
Upon resuming her voyage above the "bad sandbar" on the morning
of May 10, 1843, the "Omega" progressed finely until stopped by the
dragoons at 7 : 00 A. M. Giving due consideration to the course of
the river, the slow speed of the boat, it may be assumed that the
landing of the ' ' Omega ' ' was at the southern bend of the river, below
Hart's Cut-Off, near the then foot of the lake, about two miles from
the supposed site of Hart's trading house. The distance from this
point to Captain Burgwin's camp, as given by La Barge, was four
miles, twice repeated, and Audubon says the troopers "had left their
camp four miles distant from our anchorage at the same time" that
the boat got under way. P>om this "Omega" landing to Casady's
farm the distance would have been approximately ten miles by any
route then practicable, as may be seen by examination of a sectionized
map. The concurrent estimate of time elapsed between Audubon's
departure from the boat and his return accompanied by Captain
Burgwin and the surgeon is ' ' about two hours ' ', which would indicate
74 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
that such a distance could not have been covered by his travel to
and from the military encampment, even had he not spent some time
in talk with the officers and in shooting birds, and had no delay
occurred by reason of being required, as Audubon says, to "retrace
The distance from the point of landing, as here assumed, to the
site of the encampment of Captain Burgwin in Council Bluffs, as
suggested hereinbefore, would have been substantially four miles —
possibly a trifle less. Audubon's description of the ride along the
foot of the bluffs, and "on we went, and in a few minutes we entered
a beautiful dell or valley, and were in sight of the encampment",
tallies perfectly with the situation last suggested. Had they gone to
the Casady farm from the point where the steamer was "summoned
to land" they would have been obliged to cross the Mosquito creek,
probably unbridged, and if they had done this surely Audubon, noted
for attention to minute detail, would have mentioned the fact. It
might be said, upon the same line of argument, that it is strange that
he did not mention Indian creek, coursing through the "beautiful
dell or valley" described; but, one familiar with the location there
knows that he might not, in fact would not, have seen Indian creek
at all. Coming from the halted steamer the course would naturally,
in the condition of affairs then existing, have been along the southern
margin of the lake, reaching the bluffs at or near the Mynster Spring,
thence along the foot of the bluffs and into the dell, following the
present Washington Avenue in Council Bluffs to the site of the en-
campment, without even noticing the little rivulet which Indian creek
then probably was.
Captain Burgwin and his troopers, according to Mr. R. S. Hardin,
evacuated their cantonment because of the flood and —
"stuck their tents in the hollow near where Judge Casady 's
The "Duck Hollow" plateau — on which stood the "Log Tabernacle"
of the Mormons — logically meets this description.
The conditions leading to the sending of the command of Captain
Burgwin to the Pottawattamie country are referred to in the 1842
report of the Indian agent. (See Sen. Doc. No. 1, 3d Sess., 27th Cong.,
Vol. 1, page 387.) The agent said:
' * There was reason to apprehend, during the last spring, that
hostilities would be commenced by the Sioux against the united
FORT CROGHAN 75
band of Ottawas, Chippewas and Pottawattamies, on the
Missouri, who invited the Delawares to aid in their defence.
Prompt and rigorous measures were adopted to prevent this
outbreak, which, if it had commenced, would have involved
consequences of the most hazardous character to the com-
batants; would have probably embroiled neighboring tribes,
and could have been arrested by the Government only at great
cost. A company of dragoons was ordered by your direction
to Council Bluffs, and assurances given the threatened party
that they would be protected, while the Indians charged with
meditating the attack were warned to abstain from it. These
measures were effective, and the quiet of the frontier has been
preserved. ' '
In addition to Captain Burgwin's report hereinbefore mentioned,
and which no doubt formed the basis of the statement of the War
Department, dated January 22, 1916, relative to the period during
which "Fort Croghan" was in existence (quoted in connection with
the account of the Old Blockhouse), testimony by one who was there
present showing the date of abandonment is contained in Audubon's
journal of the return trip of his party, made by way of the Missouri
river in small boats in the months of September and October, 1843.
Under October dates appear the following notes, viz. :
"Wednesday, 4th. Cloudy and coldish. Left early and
can't find my pocket knife, which I fear I have lost. We were
stopped by wind at Cabane Bluffs, about twenty miles above
Fort Croghan. . . . Windbound till night, and nothing
"Thursday, 5th. Blew hard all night, but clear and beauti-
ful sunrise. Started early, but stopped by wind at eight.
Bell, Harris and Squires have started off for Fort Crc^han.
As there was every appearance of rain we left at three and
reached the fort about half past four. Found all well, and
most kindly received. We were presented with some green
com and had a quantity of bread made; also bought thirteen
eggs from an Indian for twenty-five cents. Honey bees are
found here, and do well, but none are seen above this place.
"Friday, 6th. Some rain and thunder last night. A toler-
able day. Breakfast at camp and left at half past eight. Our
man Michaux was passed over to the officers' boat, to steer
them down to Fort Leavenworth, where they are ordered, but
we keep in company, and he is to cook for us at night. The
whole station is broken up, and Captain Burgwin leaves in a
few hours by land with the dragoons, horses, etc. . . . "
76 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
Inasmuch as Captain Burgwin stated in August that the old en-
campment would not be fit for reoccupancy, there is no probability that
the troops returned there for encampment prior to departure.
Thus ends this story of "Fort Cr(^han", which the writer believes
to contain all attainable facts material to the history of the canton-
ment, as well as some of his own deductions, inferences and assump-
tions resting upon apparently strong circumstantial evidence when
considered in connection with the conditions existing at the time
when the transactions occurred.
Other troops were sent to this region at various times during the
occupancy of the southwestern Iowa country by the Pottawattamie
Indians, but none other than those mentioned herein and in the
several articles comprised in the booklet appear to have been quartered
in the immediate vicinity of the site of the present city of Council
The beginning of the history of civil government at and in the
vicinity of the site of the present city of Council Bluffs dates from,
the arrival there of the Mormons — ' ' Church of Jesus Christ of Latter
Day Saints"— on June 14, 1846.
Whither they were going, that is to say, where would they fix their
permanent resting place, was at that time unknown even to their
leaders. They were fleeing from persecution which they had suffered
for a period of years in various portions of the United States, especi-
ally in Ohio, Missouri and Illinois, and they had started upon a
pilgrimage, seeking, like the Children of Israel of old, a New Zion or
There is strong proof to indicate that it was their intention, at the
time of leaving the beautiful city of Nauvoo — the largest then in the
State of Illinois — which they had builded at much expense, time and
labor, to go beyond the jurisdiction of the Government of the United
States; and there is good reason for the belief that California — then
a part of Mexico — was the contemplated goal; that they intended to
effect settlement there and, eventually, to seize the territory occupied
and found a government of their own. And there is evidence of no
mean character to indicate that in such enterprise they were encour-
aged and promised aid by prominent officials of the United States
Government, and that the Government itself, as represented by several
cabinet officers and influential members of the Senate, if not actually
a party to the undertaking, allowed it to be understood that the move-
ment would not meet with federal opposition or interference.
It was under such conditions and with the hope that at least the
advance parties would reach the Pacific coast that season that the
emigrants began crossing the Mississippi river on February 5 and 6,
1846, and established their first camp on Sugar creek, opposite Nauvoo
and not far from Keokuk, in the Territory of Iowa, where, on the 15th
of that month, they were joined by Brigham Young and other leaders,
and organization of the caravans was begun.
The start from Sugar creek was made on March 1, 1846, and at
about the same time the ship "Brooklyn", with a number of "Saints"
and large quantities of supplies on board, sailed from New York, via
Cape Horn, for San Francisco.
78 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
On March 21, 1846, near the river Chariton, the organization of
the "Camps of Israel" was perfected. Near the end of April, Garden
Grove (so named by them) was reached and there was established a
settlement. Shortly afterward another settlement was founded at
what they called Mount Pisgah; and, on June 14, the head of the
column reached the Missouri river at or near the site of the present
city of Council Bluffs, where another settlement was begun.
These settlements were made for the purpose of affording rest for
the moving trains, for the planting of crops to be cultivated and used
by following parties, and similar ones were to be established and
maintained along the route, as relay stations, forming a continuous
line of connection from the beginning to the end of the journey, and
they were called "Stakes of Zion".
Within a few days after arrival at Council Bluffs Captain James
Allen, with a few dragoons, visited the camp and laid before the
leaders a proposition, submitted by the Government through Colonel
Stephen W. Kearny, commandant of the military district with head-
quarters at Fort Leavenworth, for the raising by the Mormon Church
of a force of from five hundred to one thousand men for service in
the war with Mexico. As an inducement for compliance with the re-
quest it was promised that the men should be taken through to Cali-
fornia, where, at the expiration of the term of enlistment, they would
be discharged with full pay and permitted to retain their arms and
all equipment. There not being a sufficient number at Council Bluffs,
Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards (of the
High Council), accompanied by Captain Allen and three dragoons,
visited the settlement at Mount Pisgah, and, by sending messengers
to Garden Grove, secured volunteers to the number of five hundred
and twenty. Within three days after the arrival of these men at
Council Bluffs they were equipped, mustered into the United States
service and ready to march to Fort Leavenworth, for which place
they departed on July 20, 1846.
"A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War —
1846-1847— by Sergeant Daniel Tyler", is the title of a work con-
taining much first-hand information concerning the movements of
this body of troops. Incorporated in it are various other papers, one
of which is "The Mormons, a Discourse delivered before the His-
torical Society of Pennsylvania, March 26, 1850, by Thomas L. Kane".
Speaking of the raising of this battalion, he having been present at
the time, Mr. Kane said :
THE MORMONS 79
"They were collected a little above the Pottawattamie
Agency. The hills of the 'High Prairie' crowding upon the
river at this point, and overhanging it, appear of an unusual
and commanding elevation. They are called the Council Bluffs ;
a name given them with another meaning, but well illustrated
by the picturesque congress of their high and mighty summits.
To the south of them, a rich alluvial flat of considerable width
follows down the Missouri, some eight miles, to where it is lost
from view at a turn, which forms the site of an Indian town
of Point aux Poules. ' '
Referring to the departure of the volunteers for Fort Leavenworth,
many of whom were married and leaving wives and children, and the
events connected therewith, the author said:
"There was no sentimental leave taking. The afternoon was
appropriated to a farewell ball; and a more merry dancing
rout I have never seen, though the company went without re-
freshments, and their ball room was of the most primitive. It
was the custom, whenever the larger camps rested for a few
days together, to make great arbors, or boweries, as they called
them, of poles and brush, and wattling, as places of shelter for
their meetings of devotion or conference. In one of these where
the ground had been trodden firm and hard by the worshippers
of the popular Father Taylor's precinct, was gathered now the
mirth and beauty of the Mormon Israel. . . . Light hearts,
lithe figures and light feet, had it their own way from an early
hour till after the sun had dipped behind the sharp skj'-line
of the Omaha hills."
The precise place where these troops were mustered does not appear
in any of the works which have fallen under the eye of the writer
here, but in the Journal of Sergeant William Hyde, incorporated in
Sergeant Tyler's History (page 128), it is said:
"We were mustered into the service of the United States
on the 16th of July, 1846, and marched to the Missouri river,
a distance of eight miles. . . . "
Reverend Henry De Long, who still resides at Council Bluffs, was
with the Mormons who early arrived at that place, being then some
twelve or fourteen years of age. In a letter addressed to the writer
November 18, 1915, he says:
"My remembrance of the raising of the Mormon Battalion
is this: They had a regular city composed of wagons and
tents; some four thousand inhabitants, at what is now Dodge
80 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
Orchard and J. G. Rice's place. Brigham Young's tent was
the most conspicuous of them all. A flag pole sixty or eighty
feet high stood in front of it. Amidst the beating of drums
and martial music the men fell into line as volunteers were
called for. Most of those that went were counseled by Brigham
Young to go. When five hundred men were secured they
marched to Trader's Point and there took a steamboat for St.
Louis, about the middle of July, if I remember rightly. Among
them was William Garner. ' '
This would indicate that the first rendezvous of volunteer soldiers
in Western Iowa was at the identical place, upon the very same ground,
as were those of later date, at the beginning of the War of the Re-
bellion. On the plateau on the north (right) bank of Mosquito creek,
opposite the site of the Institute for the Deaf and Dumb. Mr. De
Long is mistaken, however, in regard to the battalion taking passage
by steamboat for St. Louis. The record shows that they marched to
Trader's Point (Point aux Poules) on the day of muster, where they
were outfitted, and thence, by way of Black Snake Hills (St. Joseph),
to Fort Leavenworth, from which point, in conjunction with other
troops, they marched and found their way, along the old "Santa Fe
Trail", onward to California, where, joined with the command of
General Kearny, they assisted in the seizure of the territory now
embraced in that State which resulted in its becoming a part of these
The raising of this battalion resulted in materially modifying the
plans of the emigrants. It was believed by the leaders that, with such
a reduction of their numbers, the taking away of the flower of their
defensive force, it would not be prudent to undertake to cross the
plains that season in the face of the numerous bands of hostile Indians ;
so a semi-permanent encampment was established at Council Bluffs,
then still in the possession of the Pottawattamie Indians, though they
had previously negotiated and some of them had signed a treaty by
which their lands were ceded to the United States. These Indians
were, under the circumstances, willing that the emigrants should live
among them and readily granted permission.
To the end that an early resumption of their journey the following
season should not be interfered with by late opening of the Missouri
river, it was deemed advisable that the main body should cross the
stream and, if possible, make settlement on its western (right) bank.
Accordingly negotiations were begun with the Omaha Indians who
THE MORMONS 81
then occupied the lands on that side. Those Indians being at war
with the Sioux immediately recognized the advantage it would be to
them to have so large a body of whites upon their northern border,
who would serve as a buffer and protect them from the onslaughts
of their enemies; therefore, permission was readily granted by them
that the emigrants should occupy the territory for a period not ex-
ceeding two years.
Because of the beauty of the site, its desirability on account of
bountiful supplies of wood and water, and because of the existence
there of an abandoned trading post, with stockade, in fairly good
condition, "Winter Quarters" were established upon the site later
occupied by the town of Florence (now embraced within the limits
of the Greater Omaha), and Brigham Young and other leaders located
In a work the title page of which is, "Route from Liverpool to
Great Salt Lake City, Illustrated with Steel Engravings and Wood
Cuts from Sketches made by Frederick Piercy; Edited by James
Linforth. Liverpool : Published by Franklin D, Richards, 36 Islington.
London: Latter Day Saints' Book Depot, 35 Jevin Street, City.
MDCCCLV", on page 83, in regard to Winter Quarters, it is said:
"Upwards of 1000 houses were soon built — 700 of them in
about 3 months — on a pretty plateau overlooking the river, and
neatly laid out with highways and by ways, and fortified with
breastwork and stockade. 'It had too it» place of worship,
"Tabernacle of the Congregation", and various large work-
shops, mills and factories provided with water power.' . . .
Always capricious, and in this case instigated by white men,
the Indians, notwithstanding they had formally given the
Saints permission to settle upon their lands, complained to the
Indian Agents that they were trespassing upon them, and they
were requested to remove. From this circumstance is at-
tributable the rise and rapid growth of Kanesville, leaving
Winter Quarters again entirely to its savage inhabitants, and
only ruins point to its former prosperity, and now its situation.
The visit of Mr. Piercy to this place was made in 1853 ©r 1854, at
which time it appears that practically all of the improvements made by
the Mormons had been destroyed, and the site was used merely as
camping grounds for the later emigration of the Saints, and a ferry
had been established there. On page 81 of the book just cited it is
82 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
"At Kanesville I was kindly permitted to join the emi-
grating company, under the presidency of Elders Miller and
Cooley, . . . The company being ready to move we drove
down to Ferryville, or Council Bluffs Ferry, 12 miles distant,
and just opposite Winter Quarters, at which point we crossed
the Missouri into Indian Territory, now Nebraska and Kansas.
"The ferry-boats are flat bottomed, and large enough to
carry 2 wagons of ordinary size. The starting point is usually
chosen a considerable distance up the stream, so that the current
may assist in conveying the boats to the landing place on the
opposite side of the river. . . . The camping place on the
west side of the Missouri was about a mile from the landing,
in the vicinity of 2 springs, near the site of Winter Quarters.
I paid a visit to the old place, and found that some person had
set fire to the last house that remained of the once flourishing
settlement. . . .
(Page 84) : "Since the organization of Nebraska Territory
an effort has been made, owing to the desirable situation of
Winter Quarters, and its good ferriage and water facilities, to
build a city by the name of Florence upon the old site."
The total population of Winter Quarters, at the time of the general
removal thence in 1848, is not positively known; but, judging from
the number of houses erected, it must have been in the neighborhood
of from five to six thousand. Probably more than half of the people
went with the departing train to Salt Lake City; and a majority of
those remaining removed to Kanesville, while others settled at various
places within the Pottawattamie country, notably at C^rterville,
Macedonia, Springville, in Pottawattamie County, and Cutler's Camp,
Coonville (now Glenwood), and Bethlehem, in what is now Mills
County, the last-mentioned place having been swept away by the
Missouri river long ago. It was opposite the mouth of the Platte
Within a few weeks after the arrival of the emigrants at the Missouri
river they arranged a form of government for the contemplated en-
campment at that point, in regard to which the writer has a letter
from the Latter Day Saints' Historian's Office, dated Salt Lake City,
Utah, December 24, 1915, giving information as follows:
"About the municipal government which obtained from 1846
till the creation of Pottawattamie County, the following is
recorded in tlie Journal History of the 'Mormon Church':
THE MORMONS 83
" 'July 21, 1846, a High Council was organized at Council
Point, near Council Bluffs, to preside over the temporal and
spiritual affairs of that camp and the other settlements organ-
ized since leaving Nauvoo. The following brethren were sus-
tained as a High Council : Isaac Morley, Geo. W. Harris, James
Allred, Thos. Grover, Phineas Richards, Heman Hyde, Andrew
H. Perkins, Wm. G. Perkins, Henry W. Miller, Daniel Spencer,
Jonathan H. Hale, and John Murdock.'
' ' The personnel of this High Council was changed from time
to time as members of the same migrated to Great Salt Lake
Valley, and other men were chosen to fill the vacancies; and,
after the organization of Pottawattamie County, the jurisdic-
tion of this High Council was confined to religious or spiritual
affairs mainly. ' '
Relative to the first occupancy of any portion of what was the
original town on the site of the present city of Council Bluffs, it is
said, in the letter here mentioned, that:
" ... in the advance company was Bishop Geo. Miller
and also Henry W. Miller; the latter Miller soon afterwards
settled in what some [time] afterwards became known as
'Miller's Hollow', while the other Miller cro.ssed the river,
traveled westward [?] and wintered among the Ponca Indians,
"At an adjourned session of a general conference of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, held in the log
tabernacle. Miller's Hollow, April 8, 1848, Orson Hyde moved
that 'the place hitherto known as Miller's Hollow be named
Kanesville, in honor of Col. Thomas L. Kane.' "
That motion was agreed to and the name Kanesville endured until
after the final general exodus of the Mormons from the locality. The
log tabernacle, referred to above, was erected in December, 1847, and
stood on or near what is now known as Harmony Street, between
Benton and Frank Streets. The residence of Henry W. Miller, from
which the original name was acquired, was north of Broadway and
not far from the present site of the Federal building, near Seventh
April 7, 1847, Brigham Young, at the head of an exploring party
consisting of one hundred and forty-three picked men, embracing
eight of the Twelve Apostles, set out from "Winter Quarters" in
search of the "Promised Land". He returned on October 31st, having
decided upon the Great Salt Lake Valley, and the site of the present
84 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
Salt Lake City, as the most desirable location, and established a colony
During his absence difficulties arose between the Mormons and the
Omaha Indians, resulting in a request by the Indian department of
the Government for the abandonment of "Winter Quarters" and
other places in the Omaha country then occupied by the Saints. Ac-
cordingly, in the spring of 1848, the great body of Mormons then in
Nebraska, Brigham at the head, departed on the journey to the newly-
established Zion, their train comprising six hundred wagons. Those
left behind removed to various places on the Iowa side of the river,
as hereinbefore stated, and "Winter Quarters", as such, ceased to
exist, though it was for many years afterward used as temporary
camping ground for Mormon emigrants en route to the Great Salt
In the meantime, however, occurred at KanesviUe one of the most
important events connected with the history of the church. By those
familiar with that history it will be recalled that, after the death of
Joseph Smith (the prophet), the then existing organization was aban-
doned and the affairs temporal and spiritual were vested in a council.
On page 114 of the work entitled "Route from Liverpool to Great
Salt Lake City", is found the following:
"They returned to Winter Quarters, Council Bluffs, where
they arrived on the 31st of October, and an Epistle was issued
on the 23d of December, by the Twelve Apostles, noticing the
principal events which had befallen the Saints since the ex-
pulsion from Nauvoo, and the discovery of G. S. h. Valley. It
is also stated that it is in contemplation to reorganize the
Church, according to the original pattern, with First Presi-
dency and Patriarch. Accordingly, on the 24th, the day follow-
ing, at a conference held at the 'Log Tabernacle' in KanesviUe,
State of Iowa, the suggestion was brought before the Saints
who 'hailed it as an action which the state of the work at
present demanded', and 'Brigham Young was nominated to be
the First President of the Church, and he nominated Heber C.
Kimball and Willard Richards to be his two counsellors, which
nominations were seconded and carried without a dissentient
voice'. The appointment was afterwards acknowledged at a
General Conference on the 6th of April, 1848, at the same place
at which the appointment was made."
Upon the abandonment of "Winter Quarters" KanesviUe became
the church official headquarters for the Missouri river country. On
THE MORMONS 85
page 648 of "The History of Salt Lake City and its Founders, by
Edward W. Tullidge", published by authority of the organization at
Salt Lake City, from which work have been gleaned many of the facts
set forth herein, appears the following:
"Before the return of the Pioneers to the mountains, they
appointed Orson Pratt to preside over the mission in Great
Britain, and to push emigration to the fullest extent, while
Orson Hyde, George A. Smith and E. T. Benson were stationed
at Council Bluffs to receive the emigrants from abroad, and to
promote their speedy removal to the Valley, as well as the re-
moval of those of the community who had concentrated there
after the exodus from Nauvoo."
In the letter from the Latter Day Saints Historian's Office, to which
referisnce has hereinbefore been made, it is said :
" ... After the evacuation of Winter Quarters (now
Florence), in 1848, nearly all of the Mormons who did not
migrate to the 'Valley' that year settled in and near Potta-
wattamie County, with headquarters at Kanesville, and at one
time there were about forty branches of the Church on that
side of the Missouri river. Apostle Orson Hyde presided almost
continuouly from 1848 to 1852."
Upon petitions submitted by Brigham Young, the Iowa legislature
provided for the temporary organization * ' into a county, by the name
of Pottawattamie", of "the country embraced within the limits of
what is called the 'Pottawattamie Purchase', the act being approved
February 24, 1847 ; and the Government of the United States es-
tablished a postoffice at "Miller's Hollow'', to be known as "Kane",
January 17, 1848, and Evan M. Greene was appointed postmaster
February 7, 1848. Shortly afterward (precise date not officially
shown, nor location given, ) another postoffice was established in Potta-
wattamie County, known as "Nebraska", as the postmaster for which
Joseph T. Pendleton was named. May 30, 1849. Inasmuch as it is
within the knowledge of the writer that Mr. Pendleton resided at
Trader's Point; that the name of the Office is shown by official records
to have been changed to Council Bluffs May 30, 1850, and to Trader's
Point on December 10, 1852; that on a map published in 1851 the
latter-named place was borne as Council Bluffs; that the name of
Kane postoffice was changed to Council Bluffs on December 10, 1852,
it would seem reasonable to believe that the postoffice of Nebraska was
86 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
located at Trader's Point. On March 11, 1850, a postoffice was estab-
lished at Macedonia. All of these resulted from Mormon effort.
February 7, 1849, was issued the first number of the publication
called the Frontier Guardian, not precisely a newspaper though in
the form of one ; an organ of the Saints, published by Apostle Orson
Hyde. Still, it did publish items that might be termed news, but per-
taining almost exclusively to church matters. Of course these char-
acteristics were in a measure unavoidable, even had the inclination to
make them otherwise existed, because of the isolation of the community
on the extreme frontier beyond the lines of ordinary communication.
In one of the early issues it was said :
"It affords unmeasured pleasure to see the favorable results
of some limited exertions, not long since made, in favor of
education. Two flourishing schools in our little town, of about
eighty scholars each, conducted by a principal and assistant
to each one, with many others in various parts of the country
that have sprung into existence."
Its issue of June 12, 1850, estimates the number of teams crossing
the river during the season, up to that date, at about four thousand
five hundred, with probably thirteen thousand five hundred men and
about twenty -two thousand horses, mules, oxen and cows; and states
that Orson Hyde 's own train would probably consist of seven hundred
wagons, with two carding machines and other valuable machinery;
also four thousand sheep and five thousand cattle, and added :
"We have attended the organization of three hundred and
fifty wagons of Salt Lake emigrants up to Saturday the 8th
inst. We left them at Council Grove, twelve miles from Bethle-
hem, west of the Missouri river. ' '
Mr. Kane, in the paper from which quotation has been made herein-
before, referring to means of crossing the river, said :
"Our nearest ferry was that over the Missouri. Nearly op-
posite the Pull Point, or Point aux Poules, a trading post of
the American Fur Company, and village of the Pottawatta-
mies. ' '
Th(! ferry rofi^rrcd to by him was owned and operated by Peter A.
t<.i,.py_" Colonel Peter A. Sarpy, by-gad, sir,"— as he was wont
himself to say, who wjus what our English friends would term the
American Fur Company's "Factor" at Bellevue, nearly opposite
Trader's Point, anrl lie lind fstjiblished such exorbitant rates for
THE MORMONS 87
ferriage that an opposition establishment was set up a short distance
below, at the mouth of the Platte river below the mouth of which was
its western landing. James A. Little, in his book entitled "From
Kirtland to Salt Lake", to which the present writer is under obliga-
tions, referring to the year 1852, says :
"For some reason the most of the Mormon emigration
traveled the south side of the Platte. They crossed the Missouri
river eighteen miles below Kanesville at an insignificant hamlet
called Bethlehem." (Page 240.)
Mr. Little visited Council Bluffs in 1854 and spent some days there
renewing old acquaintance. In describing the place as then seen he
said, among other things, that:
"Through the western part of the town ran Indian (alias
Lousey) creek. . . . Running along its western bank about
half a mile was Greene Street, so named in honor of Mr. Evan
Greene, who was one of the first residents in the locality. He
was an early pioneer and the first postmaster of the place, then
called Kanesville, in honor of Col. Thos. L. Kane, the philan-
thropist. ' '
He had his points of the compass slightly mixed as any one ac-
quainted with the place will readily perceive. At the time of which
he wrote Indian creek scarcely touched the western part of the town.
It ran through the northern part, for about the distance mentioned by
him, turning to the north at the western edge of the town as it then
existed, and, skirting the foot of the bluffs for a short way, lost itself
in a swamp at the site of Dagger's Mill. But, this is digressing slightly
from Mormon days, extending beyond the period of actual Mormon
Dagger's Mill was erected by Madison Dagger, about 1848, originally
a grist mill exclusively; but later a saw was added. Its power was
derived from the waters of Indian creek poured upon an overshot
wheel. The dam was at Benton street, and the water was carried in a
ditch along the north bank of the original stream to the edge of the
bluff under which the mill was situated. This ditch followed along
the south side of the western part of Greene street, which, for that
reason, was called Race street (now Washington Avenue), and was no
doubt the stream which Mr. Little supposed to be the creek itself.
Almon W. Babbitt, an elder of the Mormon Church and a man of
strong personality and combative instincts, never in very high favor
88 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
with the ruling powers, seems to have disliked Apostle Hyde 's methods
of conducting the Frontier Guardian, and, therefore, in 1850, he
founded an opposition publication named the Weekly Western Bugle.
It was the fashion among newspapers at that time to carry below the
main head line some kind of a motto, and Brother Babbitt seems to
have received inspiration for his from the well-known lines of "The
Battle Field", by William Cullen Bryant:
"Truth crushed to earth shall rise again, —
The eternal years of God are hers;
But error, wounded, writhes in pain,
And dies among her worshippers".
So, the motto adopted for the Bugle was, "Truth, tho' crushed, shall
rise again." With the departure of Apostle Hyde for Salt Lake City,
in 1852, his publication was absorbed by that of Babbitt and the title
became the Weekly Western Bugle and Frontier Guardian, under
which the paper continued so long as the existing advertising contracts
of the Guardian remained in force, when, the name of the town having
been changed, the title of the paper became Weekly Council Bluffs
Bugle. By this time the concern had passed into the ownership of
Joseph E. Johnson and L. 0. Littlefield, the former, an elder of the
Mormon church, being editor, and the latter, a layman printer, the
publisher. But this was after the almost exclusive occupancy and
complete control of the town, which had existed for upward of six
years, had passed from the church.
No evidence has been found to indicate that newspapers or any
periodical publications other than the two mentioned, were issued at
Kanesville or in the vicinity during the official occupancy by the
Mormons. It is believed that there were none.
Although the "Stakes of Zion" — (such as Garden Grove, Mount
Pisgah, and Winter Quarters) — established by the "Camps of Israel"
along the line of march from Nauvoo to Great Salt Lake City were
intended merely to be temporary camps, or way stations, fairly per-
manent improvements were made at each. Tabernacles were erected,
mills built, and business houses established, as indicated by the extract
above made from "Route from Liverpool to Great Salt Lake City"
descriptive of Winter Quarters; though that was by far the largest
and most important of thciii all. True, no buildings were constructed
of brick or stone, nor docs it appear that bricks were at any of them
manufactured under the direction of the; church authorities; but Rev.
THE MORMONS 89
Henry De Long, who has been hereinbefore quoted, under date of
March 24, 1916, has informed the writer that :
"In 1849, a man by the name of Roberts started a pottery
in ' Duck Hollow ', what is now Harrison Street, a short distance
north of the junction of Harrison and Harmony Streets. In
connection with the pottery, a man whose name I have forgotten,
burned a brick kiln, and these brick were used in the construc-
tion of the little powder magazine that stood on the hill back
of the Ogden House."
Inasmuch as the surrounding adjacent country was devoid of coal
of any kind, the blacksmiths and other workers in metal were de-
pendent for fuel supplies upon the steamboats of the American Fur
Company, which passed up and down the river once or twice each
season, and upon charcoal manufactured in the locality, consequently
there were numerous charcoal pits or kilns in and about Kanesville.
When the exodus from Winter Quarters occurred, in May, 1848, the
more important of the business concerns of the place removed to Great
Salt Lake City, and a number of the smaller establishments recrossed
the Missouri river and located at Kanesville and adjacent small towns.
Many of these became fixtures and grew into the leading business con-
cerns in the early life of Council Bluffs.
Mormon control in Western Iowa, especially at Kanesville, ceased in
the spring of 1852, when Apostle Orson Hyde departed, bag and
baggage, with all the Saints whom he could by any means induce to
EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
THE MORMONS 91
A STREET SCENE IN COUNCIL BLUFFS.
This is a picture of the Phoenix Block, north side of Broadway at
the corner of what was originally Hyde, subsequently Madison, now
North First Street. It was one among the first brick business buildings
erected in the city. At the extreme right is seen the weatherboarded
side of the old log store of CoRNELros Voorhis, a portion of the sign
The "prairie schooner" is drawn by a typical Mormon team — three
yoke of oxen and one of cows. In the foreground is a calf. The
emigration authorities of the Church of Latter Day Saints required
that each team should comprise not less than three yoke of cattle, one
of which must be cows. The owner of the team here depicted more
than fulfilled the terms prescribed. It will be observed that, in addi-
tion to the full team, he has an additional bovine of some description
on the off-side of one of the pairs in the team.
The drawing from which the cut here shown was produced is from
a photograph now in the possession of Mrs. L. S. Hills, of Salt Lake
City, Utah, whose husband (Lewis S. Hills) was the last democratic
Register of the United States Land OfSce at Council Bluffs, and who
emigrated to Salt Lake in 1861, where he died, July 21, 1915.
Much confusion and many conflicting statements regarding the or-
ganization of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, are found in outstanding
histories, reference to each and all of which in this work is not deemed
necessary inasmuch as the purpose of its publication is to present facts
pertaining almost exclusively to the immediate vicinity of the city of
Council Bluffs, However, the organization of the county is intimately
connected with the selection and history of its capital city, respecting
which selection very little, if anything, has been heretofore published.
In a ' ' History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the Earliest His-
toric Times to 1907", by Homer H. Field and Hon. Joseph R. Eeed,
I have found only two references to the organization of the county,
"Although Pottawattamie County was not organized until
as late as September, 1848, its real history begins at a much
earlier date." (See page 1; Volume 1.)
On page 10 of the same work, referring to a later date, it is said :
"With the end of Mormon supremacy the people began to
look about to see where they were. The county, which was
much larger than now, was reduced to its present size, an
election was held, and A. H. Perkins, David D. Yearsly and
George Coulson were elected the first Commissioners. The first
clerk was James Sloan, and its first County Judge was T.
Burdick, elected in 1851."
' ' The Historical Record, a Monthly Periodical, Devoted Exclusively
to Historical, Biographical, Chronological and Statistical Matters",
is the title of a Salt Lake City, Utah, publication, edited and published
by Andrew Jensen, of the Latter Day Saints Historian's Office. On
page 899 of Volume 8 of that work is found the following :
"At Kanesville the people were anxious to have a postoffice
established and a county organization extended over the land
on wliich they had settled. At some meetings held in January,
1848, a pel i1 ion to the legislature of Iowa was numerously
signed, and Andrew II. Perkins and Henry W. Miller were
ehoscn delegates to carry and present said petition. They
attended to this business and learned that the legislature had
POTTAWATTAMIE CX)UNTY 93
made provision for the organization whenever the judge of the
4th judicial district of Iowa should decree that the 'public
good requires such organization'. They waited upon Judge
Carrolton at Iowa City, who informed them that he had ap-
pointed a Mr. Townsend to organize said County. ' '
On page 900 of the work last cited, reference is made to the county
organization, as follows:
"In March (1848) a pastoffice was established at Kanesville,
and Brother Evan M. Greene received the appointment of
postmaster. A county organization was also obtained, the
county being called Pottawattamie. The officers were : Isaac
Clark, judge of probate; George Coulson, Andrew H. Perkins
and David D. Yearsley, county commissioners; Thomas Bur-
dick, county clerk; John D. Parker, sheriff; James Sloan, dis-
trict clerk ; Evan M. Greene, recorder and treasurer ; Jacob G.
Bigler, William Snow, Levi Bracken and Jonathan C. Wright,
magistrates. ' '
Each of the foregoing extracts speaks for itself. Those referring
to efforts made to secure a county organization, as well as those which
mention such organization as a fact accomplished in 1848, have refer-
ence to a temporary organization of Pottawattamie County, pursuant
to an act of the State Legislature approved February 24, 1847, which
"The country embraced within the limits of what is called
the Pottawattamie purchase, on the Missouri river, in this State,
be, and the same may be, temporarily organized into a county,
by the name of Pottawattamie, at any time when, in the opinion
of the judge of the fourth judicial district, the public good may
require such organization." (Laws of Iowa, 1st General As-
sembly of the State, Chapter Ixxxiv, page 115.)
Thus the county was to embrace, and when organized did embrace,
all of the territory ceded to the United States by the treaty of June
5, and 17, 1846, which had theretofore been occupied by the Potta-
wattamie Indians. As said in the portion of this work relating to the
Pottawattamies, the eastern part of the northern boundary of this
territory was never delimitated. It was to extend from a point on
the western boundary of the "lands of the Sac and Fox Indians"
from which a west line "would strike the sources" of the Little Sioux
river, which initial point was never exactly ascertained ; nor were the
"sources" of the Little Sioux river ever determined in connection
94 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
with the treaty of 1833, at Chicago, by which the Pottawattamie
boundary was prescribed. Assuming, however, that the "Second
Correction Line", established by the United States surveys in Iowa,
approximates the "west line" prescribed by the treaty, which would,
with the other lines mentioned, mark out an area of about five million
acres, the quantity the Indians were to occupy, it will be seen that,
beginning at the southwest corner of Iowa and proceeding eastward by
tiers of counties, the Pottawattamie County authorized by the act of
1848 comprised territory within the present counties, viz. :
"All of Fremont, Page, Taylor, and part of Ringgold; All
of Mills, Montgomery, Adams, and part of Union ; All of Potta-
wattamie, and parts of Cass and Adair ; All of Harrison, Shelby,
Audubon, and part of Guthrie; Part of Monona, All of Craw-
ford, and part of Carroll ; Part of Woodbury, All of Ida, and
part of Sac."
The area of the county was reduced to its present size and form by
the legislative act approved January 15, 1851. (Laws of Iowa, Regu-
lar Session, 3d General Assembly, Chapter ix, pages 27-28.)
By an act of January 23, 1851 (Chapter xxvi. Laws of Iowa, 3d
General Assembly, Regular Session, page 56), provision was made for
the selection of a county seat for Pottawattamie County, the County
Commissioners being directed to designate two places to be voted for
as such, and order an election for the purpose. Notices of the places
for holding the election were to be posted in each township in the
county and published in the "Frontier Guardian". The following is
a copy of the published notice :
"NOTICE OF ELECTION.
"Notice is hereby given that on the first Monday, the 7th day,
of April next, at the Warehouse of F. J. Wheeling, in the pre-
cinct of Council Bluffs, in the County of Pottawattamie, and at
William H. Gooch & Brother's Warehouse, on Hyde Street, in
Kanesville, in the precinct of Kanesville, in said County, an
election will be held to establish the Seat of Justice of said
(/ounty ; that Kanesville is one of the plaees to be ballotted for,
for said Seat of Justice, the oth«^r is at the residence of John D.
Parker, at Pleasant Grove, about eight miles above Kanesville,
on the south sirle of Big Mosquito, and about five miles from
the Indian Mill. Also to be elected, or ballotted for, at said
election: one District Judge for the 6th Judicial District of
the State of Iowa; one School Fund Commissioner, for said
POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 95
County; one Supervisor of Highways, for each of said pre-
cincts; and as many Justices of the Peace and Constables for
each of said precincts as it lacks of two of each.
"Which said election is to be opened at nine o'clock in the
morning and continue open until six o'clock in the afternoon of
the same day.
T. BuRDiCK, Clerk of the
Board of County Commissioners.
"Kanesville, March 7, 1851.
"N. B. — By a late Act of the Legislature, the County of
Pottawattamie, as nearly as can now be determined, extends
about thirteen miles north, eleven south, and twenty-eight east
of Kanesville. Voters within these limits are entitled to vote
for the county seat." (Frontier Guardian, March 7, 1851;
The result of the election thus provided for was reported in the
Frontier Guardian of April 18, 1851 (page 2), as follows:
' * The first Monday of April, Inst., was the most disagreeable
and stormy day that we have ever witnessed in this country.
It began to rain on Sunday night, and continued to rain in-
cessantly until about 12 o'clock on Monday ; then it snowed and
froze severely; and, consequently, we had a very light vote to
what would have been given if the day had been fine ; yet, un-
favorable as the day was, quite a goodly number turned out at
the election, the final result of which is officially given below.
"Pottawattamie County and Precincts, or dependencies:
For Judge of the Sixth Judicial District ; for James Sloan,
406 ; for Christopher P. Brown, 71 ;
' ' Fremont County :
"For James Sloan, 7; for Christopher P. Brown, 91; for
"No returns from any other county.
"E. M. Greene, Esq., was elected County Clerk without op-
position, in place of James Sloan, resigned.
"Calvin R. Clark was elected School Fund Commissioner.
' ' Kanesville elected Seat of Justice ; only seven votes cast
"William Vanosdale and Jacob Degraw elected Justices of
the Peace for Kanesville Precinct.
"William H. Gooch and Roswell Ferry, Constables for Kanes-
96 EARLY DAYS AT COUNCIL BLUFFS
"For Superintendent of Public Instruction: William G.
Woodward, 397; Thomas H. Benton, Jr., 51; William W.
Spencer, 5. "
In so far as the writer of this work is informed the information rela-
tive to the county-seat election, and election of officers mentioned, has
never been recorded in any of the numerous histories of Iowa, or of
Pottawattamie County, heretofore published.
A discrepancy respecting the temporary organization of the county
under the act of 1848 appears between the statements made in the
Field and Reed History and those of the "Historical Record", above
cited. The former places it in September and the latter in March^
The office of the County Clerk of Pottawattamie County was
destroyed by fire sometime in the "fifties", and practically all of its
records went up in smoke. Inasmuch as the matter published in the
"Historical Record" is based upon records kept at the time by
oflScials of the Mormon Church, who were on the ground, it would
appear that the information contained in it is the more reliable of
the conflicting allegations.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
THIS BOOK IS DUE ON THE LAST DATE